Like many parents, I wish to leave my child with an inheritance that will serve him well for the rest of his life. But, unlike most parents I know, I do not intend to give him a large sum of money. Why? You may ask. Let me share my rationale.
Firstly, I do not believe money alone will guarantee anyone happiness. It is more important to be content with what you have rather than to keep thinking I will be happy if I have more money. Rather than giving him the money outright as a gift, I would prefer to teach him how to earn and manage his money and personal finance. In this regard, I would like to impart the importance of saving and growing your own wealth. Many people get into financial trouble not because they do not earn enough but because they do not know how to budget. These are the people who live from pay check to pay check and are thrown off in the event of any unforeseen event. This can be retrenchment, large medical bill or recession.
Since young, I have emphasized to my son that we need to work in order to buy toys, food etc for him. We also make it a point to show him that we have to pay at the end of every grocery shopping trip. This is to show him that money is hard-earned and does not drop into your lap. He is two now and in a few years’ time, we intend to start introducing the concept of investing to him. We hope our lessons on money will be more valuable to him and can last him longer than any sum of money we can ever give him.
Besides the above values on money, I also hope my child to provide my child with a good education. But, again, my definition of education differs from most parents. Most parents will take education to mean academic success. While I do not deny that an academic education is important, I believe education should also include character development. I have seen many academically inclined people ending up less successful in life compared to their peers, who may not have such good results. I think the key lies in the difference in character. The legacy I hope to leave my child with is the right set of values and character traits, such as resilience and confidence. These will hopefully stand him in good stead in coping with life’s challenges. After all, fortunes can be lost overnight but the values will stay with him for the rest of his life.
I do not know if I can indeed leave him with the intended legacy of having financial knowledge, and the right values and traits. I’m certainly going to try from now till he reaches adulthood. Wish me luck!