We all want the best for our children. That doesn’t necessarily mean you want them to have the best but you want them to make the best decisions.
One of the key lessons that will have an enormous impact for the rest of their lives – is the lesson about money. The earlier they learn financial literacy, the greater the long-term impact.
But how do you cultivate financial independence in your children? When is the best time to start? Licensed Insolvency Trustee, Francyne Myers (and mother of 2 teenagers) shares her experiences and gives her advice.
She covers these topics and more in this podcast:
- How to teach your children to save
- Tactile experience of young kids handling money and having their own allowance
- High standards set by social media
- When they should start paying for their own car, gas, phone
- The art of switching from being a parent to being a consultant in your grown child’s life
Federally regulated, Licensed Insolvency Trustees are knowledgeable in all aspects of financial management. With their knowledge and expertise you can be assured they will give you the best unbiased advice.
Read the Transcript
Wayne Kay 00:04
Welcome to the Debt Matters podcast, where we help Canadians find solutions to their debts with Licensed Insolvency Trustees from across Canada. I’m Wayne Kay, and in today’s show, we’re going to be talking about cultivating financial independence in your children. And what does that mean? How do you talk to your kids about money?
We’re going to learn about all the things that maybe we had to sacrifice as we grew up without material wealth, and how you can help your children get through the same thing.
When is the right time for them to get a job? Maybe your kids feel like, well, you have nice things, so they should have those nice things too. And how and when do you start training your child to be financially independent? Also, we can’t forget moving out and heading to university. What do you do now? All that more coming up today.
My guest, Francyne Myers from Allan Marshall and Associates Licensed Insolvency Trustee with offices in Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Hi there, Francyne.
Francyne Myers 01:11
Hey, Wayne. How are you doing?
Wayne Kay 01:13
I’m doing great. Thanks for being on the show. We always have a great conversation.
Francyne Myers 01:18
Yes, I’m looking forward to it for sure.
Wayne Kay 01:20
Especially when we’re going to be cultivating.
Francyne Myers 01:24
Wayne Kay 01:26
We’re cultivating financial independence. But it is really so important, and you and I have talked about this stuff before, kind of off the show about our kids. So I’m really happy that we can dive into this whole thing and I don’t know, are kids going to be better off than we were at 18, 19, 20, or worse off?
Francyne Myers 01:54
That’s a really interesting question because I’m sure that every generation thinks that they would have been better the way they were brought up than their children. I guess it’s a matter of perspective, right? We really won’t know until we see them growing up to see if they’re okay. I do worry about this generation, but I’m sure my parents worried about my generation too. Did they know?
Wayne Kay 02:21
I don’t think my parents sat awake, ever. No, I really don’t think they were like, oh, I wonder if Wayne is going to retire. Maybe we should help him out and give him some help with some RSPs to start off his life.
Francyne Myers 02:34
Isn’t that the way it is now, though? Yeah, it’s the hover parents have come into their own, right?
Wayne Kay 02:46
Yes. But I mean, a lot of people feel like they have to sacrifice as they grew up without any kind of wealth. And should their kids go through the same thing? I don’t know.
Francyne Myers 02:58
Well, I guess why not, right? I think it’s the way we also measure success. We look at it from a material point of view, which I think is probably not the right way to look at it. When you really think about it. Hard work, sacrifice, perseverance, these things all build character and make you the person and you and I, the people we are.
And I kind of feel like if we’re not letting our kids have a few bumps along the way, they’re not building that character, they’re not building that resilience right now. Look, if you grew up with hardly any food, not proper nutrition and slept on a mat, OK, I could see you definitely wanting more for your children. Those are necessities of life. But I do find that sometimes some parents and I have to tell you, I mean, I struggled with this with my kids when they were younger because I got an education.
We had a little bit more when I was growing up, but I had to really struggle with, okay, I can’t get them everything they want or the laziest fads or try and relive my childhood through them because it’s not really teaching them anything. It’s not teaching the value of a dollar. It’s not teaching them financial dependence. It just means you want something. You ask mom and she gets it to you.
I don’t think it’s a very healthy way to do things. You, of course, provide them the necessities of life and then you know what, you let them work for the little extras in life. Like if they want very nice clothing, which a lot of teens want – designers. They got all these gadgets. Younger children can be trained to save up money they received from birthdays and Christmas.
They can ask for money for birthdays and Christmas and save it. A lot of kids do that. Older children who are legally allowed to work should have a part time job. I must say, I’m a firm believer that as soon as a child is old enough to go to work or to have a part time job that they should, we’re not talking a whole bunch of hours.
But even 6 hours a week or 12 hours a week. A couple small shifts during the week and maybe a weekend shift. I really think that teaches children financial dependence and gives them some confidence.
Wayne Kay 05:20
The only problem is that a lot of parents are going to say, well, my kids are just so busy that they need to just relax when it comes to the weekend.
Francyne Myers 05:29
Okay, so have you ever seen on your cell phone that will tell you how much screen time you’ve spent over the last week? Wayne, have you ever seen that?
Wayne Kay 05:39
I do, yes.
Francyne Myers 05:40
I hold down a full time job. I have two teens, three if you count my husband. A busy household, and I still apparently find enough time to spend about two, two and a half hours on my phone every day. Now, how does that happen? I don’t know, but it does. It actually flabbergasts me.
I can guarantee you a teenager uses a lot more time than that on their cell phone. Now, if your teenager is pouring over their homework and reviewing their notes every evening and on weekends, fine. They probably don’t have time for a job. I don’t see a lot of kids who are doing that. I think kids have a lot of spare time that could be channeled into a job.
Now, you may have some teens or children, younger children who are involved in competitive sports or something like that. Those children are so highly scheduled that there really isn’t a lot of time for anything else. That’s a whole other debate in and of itself. So for those kids, you know, juggling school work and their activities and the job would probably be too much.
But I got to tell you, juggling school work and a job will teach a child time management, which is very important. A lot of adults have not learned discipline and responsibilities, which are very important skills to instill in your children.
Wayne Kay 07:02
Absolutely. And especially once they leave home and go off to university and they’re on their own, there’s nobody there to tell them when they need to start a meal or cook a meal or get to this class or that class. And so it’s really important for them to learn that time management, 100% agree.
Francyne Myers 07:23
You know what? They’re going to make mistakes. I mean, we all did. And they will still learn. They will still need to learn, of course. But to at least give them the basics to build on that, because that’s part of adulthood, young adulthood.
You call your parents for advice and what have you, you’re still learning. But you want to make sure they have a little bit of that base before they do go out in the world. Because, as you say, there’s really not that many people there who are going to say, hey, honey, it’s time to get up and go to school. They’re going to have to do that themselves.
Wayne Kay 07:59
Yes. When it comes to this job that you’re talking about them getting, do you get involved with helping them with the savings and looking at the finances of that and paying for their own cell phones or paying for gas for their cars?
Francyne Myers 08:14
Yes, I really think you should. And I have two teens. One is at university now, so that’s a whole different experience. And then I have one who is younger but is old enough to work, and she just started working on a job.
She wanted me to come in with her to drop off her resume. I said, no.
Wayne Kay 08:32
Francyne Myers 08:32
Right. I really think you’re 16, you should be going in to be able to drop off your own resume.
That was fine. An employer sees a 16 or 17 year old come in with a parent in tow, I wouldn’t hire that kid.
Wayne Kay 08:46
Francyne Myers 08:46
That just tells me that that kid can’t do anything without a parent. So how are they even going to get to work on time if they came to drop off her resume?
So I was asked to come in, and I said, no, you need to do this on your own. She was fine. She just went in and dropped it off. Actually got the job on the spot.
The other thing we just did recently, and what I’m teaching her is you go through – when you get paid to make sure that your hours are all there and you go over your paycheque. Well, she missed some hours on her paycheque – she wouldn’t even have thought to do that kind of thing.
So it’s also about making sure that you log when you’re working and check your pay and make sure that you’re getting your proper wages. So that was another layer we’re just kind of working on right now.
And yes, my kids pay for, my oldest one has a car, my youngest one doesn’t yet, but yes, they pay for their car, they pay for insurance and they pay for their phones.
Wayne Kay 09:44
Right. Good for you.
Francyne Myers 09:47
It’s not that much money, but….
Wayne Kay 09:49
It’s still, when you think about it.
Francyne Myers 09:52
And it gives them a sense of ownership.
Wayne Kay 09:55
Absolutely. I agree 100%. But a lot of people, and I see this because I have a ton of friends that have kids in that same age group, and they’re like, well, you know what? I have nice things, and so my kids should have nice things as well.
So here’s the latest gadget, and here, take this fancy car. It’s unbelievable.
Francyne Myers 10:22
I don’t know where that idea came from. So if parents have worked hard and have nice things that they have had to scrimp to save for, why is it that a child thinks they should have the same things they haven’t worked for?
There’s also well, my Tommy has this, so I should have it, too. Well, I think we all use that on our parents as well. So that’s kind of an old argument.
It didn’t work then, it doesn’t work now. But I am finding, and maybe it’s because of social media, because on social media, I don’t want to blame everything on social media because that’s a cheap thing to do. But maybe, just maybe, because everybody seems to put their best foot forward on social media and everybody’s life is perfect and they look perfect and they have everything perfect, maybe there’s just that sense of entitlement that comes up that everyone else is perfect in this world.
What’s wrong with me? And if I don’t have this, I’m not as good as everyone else. I wonder if that’s part of it, because that wasn’t part of my growing up at all.
Wayne Kay 11:34
No, it wasn’t.
Francyne Myers 11:35
Wayne Kay 11:35
Francyne Myers 11:37
And there seems to be more of a pressure that way to be more put together and have a said look. My parents are paying for all this, and I have this and I have that. I think that does come from them looking outwards at others who may or may not. You know what makes me think of when I was younger? The models in the magazines.
And as a young girl, you look and you’re like, oh, my gosh, they’re so pretty, they’re so slim. And then you realize after words that even the woman in the picture doesn’t look like that.
Wayne Kay 12:15
Francyne Myers 12:16
It’s been run through all these filters. It’s an impossible standard, but I think our boys and girls are getting that now. Not only from magazines, from every aspect.
Wayne Kay 12:29
Yes. It’s all over social media, and this is what they watch. The influencers that are out there saying, here’s what I have, and here’s what you can get to or shouldn’t they feel less? And that’s a whole other topic when it comes to, isn’t it?
That whole side of things. But let’s pull this back to maybe you can start giving us some advice on how we start training our children to become financially independent.
Francyne Myers 12:54
I think that starts early. When children are younger, an allowance is and this doesn’t have to be very much, Wayne. But an allowance is a good way for them to manage and to teach them to save up when they want something.
And again, it could be $5 a week if you want. I mean, it’s a very small amount. When I was young, when I was a kid, a dollar – I was excited at a quarter. I mean, times have changed, right?
But I mean, a dollar was like a lot of money to me as a kid. I mean, if you’re giving a kid a dollar or $5 every week, they’re going to be over the moon, right?
Wayne Kay 13:32
Francyne Myers 13:33
And if they want something, then you teach them to save up for it. Don’t automatically buy something for them.
It teaches, again, confidence in a child – shows them they can follow through and they can do it themselves. And also teach them what money is these days. Now, with COVID cash kind of went by the wayside.
Nobody wanted to handle money anymore. You don’t see it that much anymore. They’re like, Please pay by credit card, please pay by debit card. We don’t want to handle this dirty money.
Wayne Kay 14:06
And e -transfers.
Francyne Myers 14:08
Yes, exactly. And I haven’t seen a cheque for, I don’t know, it must be 20 years at this point. But I think it’s not a bad idea to just show a child what a five dollar bill is. Show them what a toonie and a loonie is so that they really have this tactile experience.
I think children are very visual and very tactile. If they hold it, they’ll understand this is a dollar, this is $2, this is what you buy with this. And they can kind of put it together with prices in a store or online and make it real to them. And giving them a small allowance, don’t get them involved, like the household budget or that’s just not age appropriate.
They’re just not going to understand little lessons here and there on money every few days and make it real to life. I haven’t even seen a commercial these days, but I know they’re out there somewhere. If something comes up saying, look, you know, that’s the cost of that. So that they kind of understand that things cost money and there’s a sacrifice. There’s not a money tree outback.
Mum makes money and she has to pay the mortgage and have to do this, and there’s expenses, and then you save up for the things you want. You try to get them away from thinking that they could just buy it on credit. Believe me, when they leave your nest, the world will teach them that.
Wayne Kay 15:37
Oh, my goodness. Really? Buying things on credit as teenagers?
Francyne Myers 15:41
Wayne Kay 15:41
This is the thing.
Francyne Myers 15:42
Well, no, when they actually leave home, they’ll get taught that, well, you know what? That might happen. I certainly hope it doesn’t happen that much, although I’m sure it does happen.
Wayne Kay 15:53
Francyne Myers 15:54
But be very at least so they don’t bring the idea, well, you can just mommy, I’ll just put on her Visa and you can have it.
Wayne Kay 16:01
Francyne Myers 16:02
The idea that we save up for things because when they leave, they will be very quickly introduced to the concept. Everybody else will have a credit card. And it’s just kind of the way people seem to buy things these days.
Wayne Kay 16:15
Personally, I’ve talked about this on the show before, but I still love saving up to buy something. And it’s a guitar. I’m on a guitar kick now that my kids are off my payroll.
I can buy some guitars finely because I love playing guitar, and I could just go buy one, but I like the I’m just going to put away a couple hundred bucks here, a couple hundred bucks there, and save up, and then I have the cash and I just go buy whatever it is I’m looking for. And I don’t know why, even for some reason, even now, it’s exciting to me.
Francyne Myers 16:52
It’s a sense of accomplishment. It’s something you’ve done. And here’s the other thing that it teaches, which I think is kind of missing because of the credit card era, is discipline. We don’t have to discipline ourselves. So what you’ve done is exactly right. You’ve disciplined yourself to save up, and you haven’t gotten input on a credit card.
Wayne Kay 17:15
Francyne Myers 17:15
No, that’s missing from a lot, and that’s a whole other show. Discipline is things like not sleeping till noon, making sure you eat well. A lot of things that happen to people are because they lack discipline in their lives.
Like I said, that’s a whole other topic. But things like teaching children or even the same as you and I doing that, it takes discipline to hold back and not go get what we want. Right. Away, right?
Wayne Kay 17:46
Francyne Myers 17:48
And then with kids opening bank accounts – you can go in, open a youth bank account. Usually if they’re a certain age, you have to be joined on the account with them, but there’s no fees with them and explain to them that, hey, when you have money in the bank, the bank will pay you for using your money. If you borrow from the bank, then the bank is going to charge you for using their money. To a child who is very smart and very logical, actually, will say, well, why would I want to do that?
Wayne Kay 18:26
Francyne Myers 18:27
Why would I want to take money from the bank and pay them for the money when I could put my money in the bank and they pay me?
Wayne Kay 18:35
It makes perfect sense.
Francyne Myers 18:37
Not childish, but children are actually much smarter and very cheap, by the way, when it comes to their money.
Wayne Kay 18:44
Yes. And I’ve seen that with both of my kids when it comes to their money, that’s for sure. They’re cheap with it, for sure. So hopefully we’ve got them all trained.
We only have a couple of minutes left here in this show, we get everybody trained. They know the value of money, they know they need to work, they know they have to save. And now all of a sudden, just like your daughter off to university, what happens then?
Francyne Myers 19:11
Well, hopefully you’ve set a base, they’re independent and they’re on their way. All right, so then you really do switch. And I’ve seen a switch myself, my life. So I am speaking from experience.
We’ve gone from parenting to being consultants. They have to figure things out on their own. The child, the teenager will still call home at almost 19 years old or on her way to 19 and want us to fix her problem or solve something or call someone for us. You have to, again, stand back and say, no, you are an adult now. You need to do this on your own.
You can provide guidance on how to do it right, but they really need to do it on their own. It can be very hard to do that as a parent, but you’re not doing any favors for your child if you don’t do it.
Wayne Kay 20:08
The number of friends that I have that own their own businesses and the parent will call because their college or university student can’t make it into work – would blow your mind. So I appreciate you saying that so much. It’s critically important that we teach our young people to take that responsibility, to pick up the phone and be able to take care of these issues on their own.
It is shocking. In fact, currently, I know some professors in university who said they’ve never seen more parents call than ever in their teaching careers.
Francyne Myers 20:50
And really, Wayne, that’s on the parent, isn’t it?
Wayne Kay 20:52
It is on the parent. Absolutely. Yes. We got to let our kids figure this stuff out. You have got to come back because we’re going to talk a little bit more about budgeting and those kinds of things as well. What’s your final words of advice here when it comes to teaching our kids about finances?
Francyne Myers 21:13
I guess the takeaway would be you have to allow a child to set their goals, save money. You’re going to allow your child to build confidence. It will teach them responsibility, time management, and also give them that sense of discipline as they go through life.
Wayne Kay 21:34
Great advice, Francine. Always a pleasure having you on. Thanks very much.
Francyne Myers 21:39
You’re welcome, Wayne. Take care of yourself.
Wayne Kay 21:41
Well, my guest today, Francyne Myers. You can learn more or schedule a free consultation with Allan Marshall and Associates Licensed Insolvency Trustee. You can simply go to the website Wecanhelp.ca.
And that is it for today’s Debt Matters podcast. If you know somebody who needs this information, they can learn from it. Maybe it’s your kids, maybe it’s just a family friend. Please feel free to share the podcast link. And don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your favorite podcast from.
If you want more information, you can always check out our website, debtmatters.ca. Thanks very much for listening.
About Francyne Myers
In 2012, Francyne left her 23 year public service career and joined Allan Marshall & Associates where she completed her education and became a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in 2013. Alongside with her work she is actively involved in her local Trustee Association. In her spare time Francyne can be found fishing and spending time with her family.