With great pleasure, we present to you an interview with J.F. (Jim) Straw. He touched on a topic many parents dare not touch: money.
Who is J.F. (Jim) Straw:
Over the past 50 years, Jim has written well over 700 books, booklets, manuals, reports, courses and articles about doing business — all based on his own personal, hands-on experience. His writings are “specific” methods, techniques and approaches to doing business that anyone can use to start or expand their business. Being the latest “You Can Be A Millionaire In One-Year Or Less!”
In the same period, Jim has generated over $400 Million in revenue. With this impressive record, Jim is second to none to talk about teaching children about money and family finances.
1) What do you think are the top three mistakes parents make when it comes to teaching children about money?
The mistakes can not be numerically designated because those mistakes all center around the parent’s own attitudes about money and making money.
How many times have you heard it said, “Money is the root of all evil.” — The actual quotation is “The LOVE of Money is the root of all evil” but all too many parents instruct their children (although they may not even realize it) that “money” is evil.
Parents also denigrate money with comments like, “The Company (boss) makes all the money and I do all the work.” – or …
They moan and whimper about their income and blame their inadequacies on anyone but themselves. – or …
They seek out ways and means to get “something for nothing,” “charity,” and “hand outs” proclaiming they are entitled to receive such. Teaching their children to expect the same. -or …
They show no respect for money and teach their children that money is only a “necessary evil.”
2) When is the right time to teach our kids about money and how?
When we were rearing our children, from their earliest ages, we let them participate in the family budget. Telling them how much money was coming in: what bills had to be paid: how much we had to spend for necessities (food, clothing, school expenses, etc.) and, finally, what we might have left for extras. The kids were allowed to express their opinions as to what money might be spent for and logical, realistic reasons as to why it was a good idea or not.
3) Do you think parents should teach their children to start a business or let them work for someone else?
Neither. — If a child asks for something special, simply ask “how will you pay for it?” Then suggest the child mow some lawns; shovel some snow; or, get a job to pay for it. — Let the child choose the direction to take.
4) To train children to think like entrepreneurs, should parents give them monetary rewards for tasks they have completed, say, mowing lawn?
NO! — Being an entrepreneur is NOT about making money. Being an entrepreneur is about self-direction and freedom. Allow the child the freedom to choose. — The money is only a way of keeping score.
5) Any good games or activities that can be used to teach children about money and business?
Really don’t know of any.
6) What is the biggest lesson you learned about money in your entire life?
Back in Junior High School we had a lyceum presentation by a Catholic Priest … in our community which only had 2 Catholic families. The Priest told us all about the priesthood and their vow of poverty.
When I got home that afternoon, my Dad saw that I was puzzled and asked me why.
I explained how the Priest had told us about his vow of poverty and I couldn’t understand why anyone would intentionally want to be poor.
Dad then told me, “They believe they can better serve poor people by being poor themselves – but – a rich man can help more people in a day that a poor man can in a lifetime.”
Dad may have been a little mistaken in his analysis of the priest’s vow of poverty but he did give me an empowerment to get rich.
7) For parents who are struggling financially, any advice for them?
Admit their financial situation to their children. Assume the responsibility for the situation. Advise their children to learn how to avoid the mistakes they have made. — Unfortunately, most of them blame their situation on others instead of assuming responsibility themselves. Then, they go looking for “someone” to bail them out rather than looking for a way to do it themselves.
Their children learn from their example.
8) If there’s only one thing, what would be the best gift you can give to your children?
Encouragement to follow their dreams no matter how foolish those dreams may seem.
9) How to train children to be financially intelligent, in a nutshell?
See my answer to question #2. Let your children learn from your actions.
10) Wealthy parents tend to fulfill every request of the kids. How not to spoil the kids if you’re wealthy?
When I was but a child, my Dad’s answer to any request for money; or whatever, was a resounding “NO!”
Later he told me why.
If I accepted the “NO!” without question, I really didn’t want or need what I was asking for.
On the other hand, if I could offer a sound reason for my request, we would discuss how it was going to be obtained.
I used the same method with our children. They learned to say “NO!” to their own wants and then either accept the “NO!” or offer a sound argument to support their request and determine how it will be obtained. (The kids don’t really even know they are doing it.)