Thursday, April 14, 2022

Money Matters: Thinking Differently About Money

 Many people go throughout their lives with a lack of financial stability. Much of this is due to a lack of basic knowledge about things like budgets, credit card debt, loans, and various ways to save or invest. Fidelity Investments’ Millennial Money Study found that 39% of people said they worry about their financial future. Financial worry is rampant, yet we still don’t teach our kids about financial literacy in schools. 

Finances can seem overwhelming, and when things seem too big to handle, we tend to sweep them under the rug. Ignorance may be bliss, but something as crucial as finances can only be ignored for so long. David Delisle is an entrepreneur, investor and financial advisor. He strives to close the gap in financial literacy through education in an engaging and digestible format. His graphic novel, “The Golden Quest”  inspires people to think differently about money.


Financial Literacy Month is an opportunity to review your finances and pave a path toward improving them. Teaching our children to manage money at an early age will help them to ultimately live a rich and fulfilling life.

David’s passion is to change the way the next generation thinks about money, and help people become aware of what’s truly important to them. I had a chance ot learn more in this interview.

What does a life of wealth mean to you?


For me, wealth is all about freedom. When I teach kids and adults about wealth, a lot of the habits I teach will result in accumulating money. And, there is nothing wrong with accumulating money or, this being your primary goal. But for me, the goal isn’t in accumulating money but rather, in eliminating money as a major factor in your decisions. To me, a true life of wealth is when money isn’t something you actually think about at all.



What can families do now to help children set themselves up for financial security in the future?


One of the most important things that families can do now to set their kids up for future financial security is to just talk about money. That’s it.

Now, that might seem overly simple but, it’s SOOOOO important and we aren’t doing this at all. Talking about money is still taboo and one of the few things that we don’t talk about. We will tell our best friends almost everything about ourselves except, how much we earn or spend. But how can our kids actually learn the value of money if they don’t know how much things cost and you never talk about this with them?


So, the first, and most important, lesson we should teach our kids about money is how much things cost. You just have to start talking about money. Instead of hiding how much we earn, save, and spend, we should be telling our kids. Tell your kids how much you spent on dinner or, groceries or, gas or, anything else you buy when they are with you. Let them know the cost of admission at the museum or, aquarium or, movie theatre.


This conversation will shift depending on the age of your kids but, it can start at any age. A great trick when your kids are really young and still don’t understand money at all is to use chocolate bars to describe value. For example, you can tell them that the teddy bear they want is fifteen chocolate bars.


By learning the value of things, our children can begin to make informed decisions on where they want to spend their money by choosing what’s most valuable to them and what they are willing to give up. We often get caught up in spending without considering the cost. We forget that when we spend, we are always giving up something.


Knowing the value of money is the first step in breaking the cycle of mindless consumerism and becoming aware of what’s really important to us.



How can families identify needs vs. wants - and prioritize those wants - to make better choices?


This is one of my favorite questions but, I take a different approach. Instead of trying to break down what’s a need and what’s a want, I shift the focus towards understanding what’s truly important to you.


What’s your awesome stuff?

You know, the stuff that’s more important to you than anything else. The stuff that you love the most. The stuff that when you begin talking about it you can feel the excitement throughout your entire body. And this doesn’t have to only be things; it can also be experiences.

All of our lessons about money are how to have more; even saving is about having more to spend later.

However, we never ask WHY we want more. What’s really important to us? This is the most important lesson about money and we’ve been missing it ENTIRELY. Without this critical first lesson, we will never have enough and will always be stuck in the endless cycle of wanting more…because that’s all we’ve been taught and that’s all we know.

This question can lead to one of the most ground breaking shifts in how you think of money. There's no right or wrong answer. It's the awareness where the magic happens and your feelings towards money begin to change. Your focus will begin to shift from constantly seeking more, towards what’s really important…to YOU.

And once your aware of what your awesome stuff is, “Only Buy the Awesome Stuff”.

This overrides any lessons around needs vs wants for both kids and adults. Before buying something, just ask yourself, “Is this the awesome stuff?”. And if it’s not, then don’t buy it.


How can families shift their mindset to find joy in what they have instead of always wanting more?


The reason why I believe the above lesson is the most important lesson about money is because it does exactly this. It seems so simple, but the most powerful lessons usually are.


When your focus shifts towards what’s most important to you, you’ll automatically begin noticing those things in what you already have.


One of my favourite quotes is by the ancient Greek Philosopher Epicurus:


“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

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