By Rita Cheng, CRPC®, CFP®
Co-Founder and CEO,
Blue Ocean Global Wealth
In my September column, I wrote about the importance of teaching your children financial literacy.
Mind you, keeping kids financially grounded is not for the faint of heart. By allowing children firsthand experience in earning, saving, and spending their own money, they are more likely to have a savvy sensibility about managing their expenses as adults. But kids are kids, and let’s admit it—spending money is fun.
So there’s no better day than Thanksgiving to talk about the bounty of gifts you and your family has, and how kids can not only save for their financial futures—but how they can share their wealth with others.
That is a tradition that I’ve had with my children since they were little. In fact, Thanksgiving is more than a day for giving thanks—it marks the start of the season for expressing gratitude and sharing with others.
Caring Is Sharing
While many of us are focused on building wealth for our financial future, this is the perfect time of year to share with those who struggle to make ends meet. Here are a few of my family’s traditions. I hope you are inspired to give back in your own special way.
- Thanksgiving baskets. Part of my family’s holiday tradition is to prepare items for Thanksgiving baskets for families of a sister parish in Washington, DC, whose congregants are less fortunate. Our mission is to provide money for food so that they can enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner in their homes.
- Blessing Baskets. We also prepare Blessing Baskets filled with baby food, formula, and diapers to help the members of our sister parish take care of their babies.
- Choose a charity. Other families that I know help their children understand the meaning of sharing by having their kids select a charity or special cause to support. Showing that you care about helping others sets a powerful example.
- Develop a family “giving” statement. Similar to a family mission statement, a “giving statement” enables you and your kids to determine what percentage (of your income, or their allowance) you will give each month or year to a nonprofit organization, school, or other charitable cause.
- Turn the tables on “Black Friday.” Instead of rushing out to the mall on the day after Thanksgiving, use your time, treasures, and talents to make gift bags for the giving trees.
Timing Is Everything
When you commit to instilling strong financial values in your children and encouraging their positive saving and spending habits, the benefits are immeasurable.
Remind them that their self-worth is more important than their net worth. Managing money is a lifelong skill, so teaching your kids good habits early is a sound investment in their future. There’s no time like Thanksgiving to start the conversation.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese Proverb
For more information, visit www.blueoceanglobalwealth.com.
Marguerita M. Cheng, CFP® is the CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth, which provides corporations and institutions with portfolio construction, investment due diligence, and risk-management consulting services. The firm works with families, entrepreneurs, and executives to help them identify and achieve their financial goals. As a CFP Board Ambassador, she helps educate the public, policymakers, and the media about the benefits of competent, ethical financial planning.
A Financial Planning Association (FPA) national board member and member of the Finance Committee, Cheng served eight years on the board of directors of her alma mater, The Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, where she collaborated to increase alumni engagement and developed asset-management education programs. She is also the president of the Blue Ocean Economic Empowerment Fund.
Cheng says her greatest joy and passion is touching the lives of others so that they may achieve their personal financial success.
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