That’s actually the first part of a Proverb I can remember most vividly.
“A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children…” Proverbs 13:22
Your children’s children. Have you considered the impact of developing that type of lasting inheritance?
I’ve spent a fair amount of time wondering what exactly is meant by “inheritance” in this context. We inherit plenty of non-financial things from our parents: a good work ethic, freckles, a slow metabolism. Some items are more interesting than others.
I’m fairly convinced that in this context – the bible is primarily referring to money. Mostly because the second part of that statement talks about a sinner’s wealth being laid up for the righteous.
On the other hand, I’m not convinced that the converse of this statement is implied. Parents without large inheritance leaving capabilities aren’t being dismissed as less than good. We’re just focusing on the positive. A goal – if you will.
So yes, I’d love to leave an inheritance so big it will impact the lives of my grandkids…and beyond for that matter. Since my kids are 3 and 1, I have a little time. To do so, I’m leaning on my faith and also the examples of those who’ve shown us how. It’s not rocket science. It was, however, part of a mindset that didn’t flow with the norm.
One of our biggest wealth building tools is our income. If that income is tied up financing crap (let’s just be honest – most of the stuff I was buying with credit didn’t have generational implications) then it’s working against that proverb and not for it. Consuming goods is a part of our society. Supporting businesses makes the economy churn. However, there’s no need to go into debt and remove the silver spoon from our grandchildren’s mouths (and bury it so deeply they won’t find it for decades – if at all) to participate in the economy.
One thing I’m excited to pass on to my children is a healthy perspective on managing money. I have no illusions that this will be easy. There’s a world of instant gratification right outside my door – sometimes inside if we count the mixed media messages allowed in through TV and other marketing platforms.
I’m not worried.
I have 18+ years to drill into them the concepts I hold dear – working hard, savings, giving, investing, and the value of creating vs just consuming. I’m planning to enforce these lessons not only by what I say, but how I continue to live life and managing our own finances. I’ll do it right in front of them – whether they like it or not.
Right now, we’re working on counting up to 20 and pronouncing Y’s without making the L sound (The color is yellow, not lellow). Soon enough – we’ll move on to more vital personal finance topics.
A vital step in my plan has to do with saving for long and short term goals. Traveling is one thing my husband and I love. We now love traveling with children. I could do without the bag-lady look we’ve adopted now that we travel with strollers, car seats, diaper bags, snacks and extra Sippy cups. You do what you must. Saving and planning to incorporate luxury items is a must and a skill I want my children to inherit and pass on.
Giving connects us to a world beyond our doors. I feel we have an obligation to contribute to a better society that we desire. Giving of our money (and also time) is a great way to make that happen.
I’m working to raise people who will be productive contributions to society. A deep appreciation for and need to maintain a habit of saving and giving is a gift I hope my offspring receive.
Investing comes in many forms. We can invest in ourselves through education. We can invest in our retirement accounts. Investing in real estate is still an option. We can also invest in businesses that we build. Not everyone has the entrepreneur bug. Nor should we all. We can all be investment minded. Investing is a long term perspective that requires a sacrifice of current pleasures for the sake a larger gains in the future.
This concept is not natural, but one I want to expose my children to early in life. Hopefully, they’ll get it.
All the good financial preparation means little if we’re not rooted in a foundation of integrity and good sense. I really don’t want to see my children profiled on an episode of CNBC’s American Greed. While I don’t have a crystal ball and every person ultimately grows up to be who they will, I will train up my children to learn right and feel the consequences of choosing wrong.
I don’t expect perfection. How could I? I’m far from it. We all make mistakes, that’s why I’m so open about my blunders. Mistakes don’t define me and they won’t define my children. But I do know, that when we know better – we can choose to do better.
These are a few of the items I’d like to pass on to my children and thus their children. Look at me, already hoping for grands (just not too soon). I hope these will be a good compliment for a nice wad of cold hard cash.
What does that Proverb mean to you?
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