Investors may be puzzled by current market and economic news. After a long run that appears to have had virtually no volatility, February and March showed market swings never seen before in the history of the stock market. This may cause some investors to chart a different course that may be detrimental to their goals.
It may be time to go back to the fundamentals. What causes economic growth and what follows or predicts the outcome on Wall Street? Basic Economics 101, which reminds me of when I taught financial planning to high schoolers.
Recent research of basic finance uncovered an interesting article on the “Ten Money Myths Parents Pass On To Their Kids” by Asia Martin. The article states that Steve Siebold, author of “Secrets Self-Made Millionaires Teach Their Kids,” asks parents this question in his book.
It is hard to remember why we are investing when fluctuations cause us to lose focus. We want to learn from these opportunities and teach others as well. If we are stressed by investing instead of energized, we may be sending the wrong message. It will be difficult to pass on wealth, or teach the next generation of investors how to handle money, if we were brought up to believe that money is the root of all evil. It’s time to demystify what it takes to grow and keep wealth.
Here are some highlights from Martin’s article:
• Myth: Making money is hard. Teach your children that making money is about solving problems. The world is full of opportunities to help solve problems.
• Myth: Money is evil. Money is a tool, a medium of exchange. It is not an indicator of self-worth.
• Myth: Kids need an Ivy League education to become rich. It is important to respect all forms of education available to make dreams a reality. Formal education is valuable but self-education is a very powerful tool. It is most effective at problem-solving and achievement, which leads to success.
• Myth: If you fail, move on to something else. Parents often rush to prop up their child’s self-esteem and suggest new sports, music or courses the minute they fail or get frustrated. Consider teaching about persistence and how failure is not fatal, it is a necessary process to learn and achieve.
• Myth: All people are equal. We should all be treated with equal respect and justice, but we don’t all excel at the same things. Teach your kids to focus on their own unique talents and empower them to do things that bring them joy. Don’t use wealth as a crutch for entitlement or to set yourself apart from others.
• Myth: Money will make you happy. While money can help you feel more secure, it does not eliminate life’s struggles. Happiness comes from family, friends, spirituality and most importantly, love. Teach your kids to find happiness and self-worth first and if you love what you do, the money will follow. If you reverse your goals and go after money first, then prepare to line up next to the millions who seek therapy for handcuffing themselves to a grindstone for the wrong reasons.
With these guidelines, we can begin raising a generation of smart investors: Persistent, educated, patient problem-solvers who view money as a tool, not an endgame. It is important not just to pass down money, but to pass down the wealth of knowledge necessary to manage the future.
Patricia Kummer has been an independent certified financial planner for 31 years and is President of Kummer Financial Strategies LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor in Highlands Ranch. Please visit www.kummerfinancial.com for more information. Any material discussed is meant for informational purposes only and not a substitute for individual advice.