Bring Your Kid to Planning Day
The other day I had a particularly interesting financial check-up with a client. What made this meeting different? Well, he brought his son.
I’ll always encourage getting your children engaged in learning about finances. However, this was one of the few times a client actually brought their kid to a planning meeting. It was refreshing and one of the best review meetings I can remember. It truly embodied the spirit of family planning.
So, how did the meeting go?
Well, it started like any other meeting. We all sat down, opened up our notebooks, (the son had a composition notebook – oh what a flashback to my school days) and we got into things.
First, we covered the typical scope of a review meeting (modeling, investment review, estate planning, taxes, etc.,). However, every time we got to a new topic, I paused for a moment. I took the time to explain to his son the what and why of the scenarios. It was a little more detail than usual, but I was uber excited to educate this 20 year old college kid. (Oh boy… I just referred to a college student as a kid. I must be getting old.) Regardless, I’ve always enjoyed educating and this gave me a platform to do so.
As we continued through each section, I watched the son furiously take notes. Repeatedly, he’d look up and ask a surprisingly astute question. The energetic dialogue was great for this almost two hour meeting.
Why was the meeting so dynamic?
From what I saw, the meeting held power for each of us.
Powerful for the client: He really connected with his son. He left the meeting knowing he had someone who could handle his affairs, if needed. My client helped teach his son a valuable lesson; something he wanted to pass on just as it had been passed on to him. This meeting gave his son an invaluable introduction and resource.
Powerful for the son: By now, I assume everyone knows how I feel about how public schools leaving a lot to be desired on financial education. Now, however, my client’s son is empowered to start (and continue) learning about finances. He is ahead of the curve with a better understanding of not only his family’s finances, but finances in general. Additionally, he can see where he’ll end up if he works hard and stays dedicated. Besides, now he can brag to his college buddies about how he has a financial resource. (In fact, he’s already taken me up on that regarding graduate school loans.)
Powerful for me: For me, it brings everything full circle. I left feeling great that I am beginning a true family planning process. It offers validity to what I, and my partners, do. To truly describe things at their most basic level, so both father and son understood, was more engaging than I thought. Although basic to many of us, some adults lack a lot of these core financial understandings. Hopefully, this family now has the tools to make a difference for multiple generations to come.
To Sum It Up
I think I can sum up the power felt by all with a dialogue the son and his father had prior to the meeting’s start:
“Son, I think it is important for us to be open about money, and finances. My father educated me at a very young age and I want to do the same to you. Also as the oldest child, if ever anything should happen to me I want you to know where everything is and who to contact to help transition things.”
“Dad, absolutely I’m looking forward to learning”
Deep thoughts (with Jack Handy)
In the end, the platform for educating your children about finances is irrelevant. Too many of us shy away from it; some even consider it taboo. If not taught in the school, we have to find a way to teach the next generation about finances. I don’t see a better way than using real life examples which will hit home to them.
Don’t forget the added bonus, as well. Hopefully, they’ll be financially able to take care of you in your old age!