Money Attitude: A health check for all the family

Have you ever thought about how the attitudes to money which you grew up with affect the way you spend and save today? Do you think your current financial situation is a result of what you heard, saw and learned growing up, either because you have tried to imitate, or to do the opposite, of what you saw your parents or grandparents do with their money when you were young?

Research tells us that kids begin to develop their attitude towards money from the time they are toddlers, well before they are pocketing or spending money of their own. What we do know, is that these attitudes, imprinted early on growing minds, can make or break an individual’s financial future and can determine the patterns of spending and saving into adulthood, including if and how we develop unhealthy debt.

So how can parents, grandparents and educators teach important money lessons without making kids feel anxious about not having enough or wanting more than they really need? At a time where the average amount of household debt is reported to be more than twice what it was 12 years ago, are we as parents and grandparents equipped to teach our children about money, when so many of us are ourselves struggling with financial stress and harmful levels of debt?

On top of this, growing up in the age of ‘tap and go’ technology, kids aren’t learning fundamental money and life lessons. A recent survey of over 1100 teens found that more than half didn’t understand how much it will cost and how long it will take to clear credit card debt when only paying the minimum repayment each month.

So what can we do, as parents and grandparents, to change the narrative around money so that our children grow up to be better with money than we are?

A great place to start is pocket money. Teaching children that money is earned and not just given is a great starting point in understanding the value of money and creating a choice of if and then how to spend it. The reward for having the patience to watch the gold coins pile up to a point where they can afford the toy or gadget they have been wanting, is a great life lesson in hard work, and delaying gratification through saving. Many families will also insist that a portion of any money earned be donated to a charity of the child’s choice, instilling other values such as generosity, empathy and gratitude.

While many children pick up on their parents’ concern around finances and learn to feel anxious about not having enough money, psychologists encourage parents and grandparents to consciously change the narrative around money in their household. We can create a sense of abundance by telling our child that there’s enough money for everything they desire, but we need to identify what we truly need and then create a plan to achieve that which we need and want in the future. This strategy is understood to encourage kids and teens to feel grateful rather than entitled. An attitude of scarcity creates anxiety and fear around money, whereas an attitude of abundance fosters a feeling of ‘I have enough and am grateful for what I have’.

We learn a great deal about our family’s values from what our parents and grandparents do and say. Demonstrating a strong work ethic, giving children a chance to learn the correlation between working and earning and fostering a positive attitude towards money and spending will pay dividends well into your children’s adult lives, as they live and breathe the attitudes they’ve inherited and pass these same messages on to future generations. Now there’s a legacy worth leaving.


Axios Financial Solutions are a team of respected and highly regarded financial planners with offices on St Kilda Rd Melbourne.  Axios helps their clients meet their desired outcomes by providing tailored financial services, strategies, advice and solutions.  You can contact them at info@axios.com.au or (03) 9869 5555.

Axios Financial Solutions Pty Ltd (ACN 007 299 014), is an Authorised Representative of Charter Financial Planning Ltd, Australian Financial Services Licensee 234665

Please note that the information in this article is of a general nature only and has not taken into consideration your individual circumstances. Should you wish to discuss your personal circumstances please call us on 03 9869 5555 or email info@axios.com.au.

Level 3 The Metropolis
480 St Kilda Road
Melbourne Vic 3004