Do children need financial education?

Two weeks ago, I picked up one of Robert Kiyosaki’s book titled Rich Kid Smart Kid. Now I heard of his first book Rich Dad Poor Dad way back in 2003 when I was a financial adviser. At that time, his books were selling like hotcakes and so many people were talking about his ideas on money management. As I hated to follow crowds, I resisted picking it up.

This time when I saw the book displayed in MPH, I suddenly decided it was time to find out what I didn’t 8 years ago. I mean, every mother would want to find out how to give their child a good head start in life. Not that I don’t trust our education system – but it hasn’t had a good track record of producing brilliant, innovative and responsible individuals.

After reading the book, something in my heart and mind just clicked. Robert’s book brought to life bits and pieces of ideologies I have locked away in my mind and the experience totally invigorated me. It’s not that there was anything new or uncommon in the principles he laid out. They exist right before our eyes but somehow we have been blinded to think deep about them.

Foremost of his principle is the importance of financial literacy. Schools teach us how to be good academics and professionals in the workforce but it does little to prepare us to be savvy with our finances. We have been molded to be good employees, to work hard for our money, to save and then pray that it’ll be enough when we retire because when we stop working, money stops coming in. How much we can earn through work depends ultimately on the number of hours in a day and the number of days in our lives.

In addition to the fear of not having enough, there is the other mind set of working for money, that we need money to survive. When we become obsessed with such self-defeating mentality, we have allowed money to take control of our lives and souls. And it is so sad to see people going to work with such sadness and lack of spirit and worse to translate it into lousy service and lacklustre products.

According to Robert Kiyosaki, the key lies in our ideas towards money. If we want to truly breakthrough from this rat race, we need to invest in our own financial education. Not education from advisers or bankers who want your business but education from people who truly want you to be successful.

One thing pointed out is that when our children learn how they can survive in the real world outside of the security of academia and workforce, they become confident to be themselves instead of trying hard to be popular and fit in. I am grateful that I am born with an inner contentment to be authentic but it is not something I am going to chance with my children. I know how dreadful it is to be on the outside and things impressionable children will do to fit in and lose themselves in the process.

And this is related to how financially literate our children are because the real world speaks in dollars and sense (cents) and not academic grades.

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