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Financial Lessons for My Son

My son is only 18 months old, too young to actually teach anything about money.  Given what I do for living I have started to think about what I would like him to think about money.

  1. Money isn’t evil. Having a lot it doesn’t make you a bad person. If you got that money through immoral means, that is evil, but you can do a lot of good in the world if you have some money.
  2. You get money through work. Work your butt off.
  3. You have more choice if you make smarter choices with your money. If you save your money, then you’ll have choices later in life that other people won’t have.
  4. You save a lot of money if you don’t care what people think about you. The richest people I know look like vagrants and drive old utes, because they don’t care what people think about them.
  5. Don’t use money to show someone that you love them. A lot of people spend money instead of time. You’ll get a better return on time.
  6. Debt is dumb. The only debt I ever want you to have is a mortgage, and then I want you to work like a dog to pay it off.
  7. Buy the best second-hand car that you can for cash and drive it until it dies. Depreciation and ego are expensive.
  8. A poor person who lives within their means has more dignity than a rich person who’s up to their eyeballs in debt—even though it might not look like it from the outside.
  9. If you mess up, there is pride to be had in taking responsibility and paying back your debts, but don’t make the same mistake again.
  10. Don’t try to be too clever. You’re smart; I’m sure you’ll be smarter than me, but don’t try to be too clever with investments or tax.
  11. Brush your teeth—dental work is really expensive.
  12. Use a written budget—you can’t control something that you don’t measure. And your Dad will be really proud of you.

What do you want to teach you kids about money?

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