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Stand tall; become your own Plan A

by Money Puzzle   ·  July 19, 2019   ·  

Stand tall; become your own Plan A

by Money Puzzle   ·  July 19, 2019   ·  

Photo by theformfitness from Pexels

It’s not a coincidence that every other adult conversation now revolves around how the next generation is growing up with an entitled sense of privilege. A friend shared how her friend’s grown up daughter (mid 20s), refuses to go to the office the days that her dad’s car and driver aren’t available to drop and pick her up. A well-established financial advisor shared his concern about his teenager being uncomfortable to travel for evening classes without the car and driver. 

Then of course, my own children (8-year-old twin boys), are confident that lost water bottles, cricket balls, umbrellas or broken toys are easily replaceable with a simple click on  It’s a glaring issue that privilege is taken for granted and there is an understanding deficit about the value of money. My children know that stuff costs money, but I don’t think they fully comprehend that money is not being freely distributed in office where Mom and Dad spend so much time. The concept that there is an effort involved in earning money, seems fleeting; instant gratification has taken its place.

Before concluding that this is somehow a wrong direction to move forward in, let’s dig a little deeper.

There are two challenging behavioural shifts that can be identified in this Gen Z, firstly, they are a lot more dependent on parents and secondly, there seems to be this belief that one can pick stuff off a platter instantly when it’s needed, rather than make an effort to earn it. 

The childhood I remember was more about waiting a whole year for birthdays to get gifts and toys we yearned for; now I expressly mention ‘no gifts’ for my kids’ birthday parties because adding more games and toys to the already existing (somewhat neglected) pile seems wasteful. Rakhi gifts used to come out of months of saved pocket money whilst today instant loan apps nudge you to make a quick borrowing to buy that indulgent surprise gift. Stationery, clothes, books, shoes, hair clips, sports equipment – all are things taken for granted rather than savoured.

How did you learn the value of money? Let me know in the comments section below!

Again, does it need fixing or is this the new paradigm that must be accepted? Here is a thought: when stuff is taken for granted, invariably there is an inability to recognise its worth; ironically, you also aren’t adequately prepared to deal with consequences when deprived of it. 

Many countries in the developed west are now facing a generation who is earning less than their parents, but survival is not so tough because of assets created by the earlier generation. This is a fall out of stagnant economic growth and in some cases, economic degrowth. In India, we are not at that stage and the next generation (mostly) is so far still surpassing their parents’ income standards. Hence, they are perhaps going to continue being sheltered with assets created by their parents while their own incomes get spent on items of immediate consumption rather than saved for the future. This happens simply because there is a backup; parents’ property, savings, accumulated gold and so on.

My husband often reminds me that our children are growing up in a socio-economic context which is a lot different from what we had; we need to accept a parenting style that doesn’t forsake this change, rather adapts to filter and soak in its beneficial exposures.

My worry is that if children and young adults take privileges for granted and don’t realise money’s worth then they will not be able to make independent choices about money when it matters most. The failure to do so, will not only lead to a depleting pool of family assets but also low self-esteem for the child/young adult. You can help your child (age group 5-30!) succeed in a chosen career, but you won’t always be there to protect and shelter. Boris Becker’s success as a tennis player and failure in managing his earnings is a prime example of how fortunes can sour faster than life catches on. 

Having said all this, I have to (painfully) admit, my husband is (somewhat) right.

Today’s children are growing up in an environment of privilege and face exposures which are unique from what we had. If we want to them to be independent and face life with a fire in the belly, a drive to conquer, we have to consciously deprive them of simple solutions. Instead let them figure out the solution.

If we don’t give them a car and driver for every occasion, they will figure out an alternative – unlikely that we will catch them sitting home all the time! If we don’t promise them funding for an overseas education, assuming that is their goal, they will work hard towards a scholarship. If we don’t replenish their stock of cricket balls in every time they empty it out, they will learn to share more with friends. 

Undoubtedly, it’s all easier said than done. I know many parents who will argue that their hard work is for their children’s comfort and that justifies all the privilege.

A parent is perhaps emotionally duty bound to provide for their child, but that does not mean you must keep them ignorant about the value of hard-earned money. Providing them this basic understanding can contribute more to their success in life than sheltering them from having to take a bus or a train ride on a rainy day. 

If you are a young adult reading this, understand that your parent saying ‘no’ is less about depriving you of comforts in life; it is more about them always being your plan B and enabling independent behaviour that helps you rely on yourself to become your plan A.

If you are a parent reading this blog, head to the comments section and tell me if you agree with me or not and please put down any suggestions or thoughts you may have on this subject. 

Teach your child to become a strong swimmer, while you remain their life vest hidden under the seat.

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