"I’m in favor of giving my children enough money that they can do anything but not so much that they could do nothing."
- Warren Buffett
Over the past year, the world has continued to suffer through a global pandemic. Many of our pharmacy owner families have remained worried about the impact and implications of the crisis on the next generation. In this article we’ll begin to unpack how our kids' financial literacy is essential to their wellbeing and of vital importance today given the changing economic landscape.
No matter the size of the portfolio or the age of the next generation, many family leaders are wondering how to best prepare the next generation with the skills and knowledge they will need to be financially competent. Today, very few schools teach personal finance as part of the curriculum before high school graduation. So, as part of family business success planning, we encourage families make financial literacy as a high priority.
Family leaders still bear the scars of the 2008 financial crisis only to be thrust into the COVID-19 pandemic. These recent experiences have highlighted the importance of preparing financially competent next generations. We all know that kids are smart and perceptive and most kids are aware of what has been happening in the world to date. Describing the world’s financial situation with the next generation can serve as the first step in engaging them in their own economic development.
The credit crisis and more recently the pandemic have permanently changed the economic landscape. We are now navigating some uncharted waters and as a result the next generation of kids could face some very different pressures. Among them:
- A changing interest rate environment and the evolution of alternative investment asset considerations.
- The proliferation of do-it-yourself online investment alternatives like WealthSimple have provided a new platform to experiment and learn.
- Continued global competition among the next generation.
- Uncertainty around retirement funding plans, as well as healthcare and social security benefits as governments and central banks continue to bloat sovereign balance sheets.
Ben Sasse’s book, “The Vanishing American Adult,” explores how parents can walk back and rebuild more self-reliance in the next generation.
CULTIVATING FINANCIAL VALUES AND INTEGRITY
Financial competency is not just about money. It is about instilling in your children values equivalent to overall good character. Kids with good financial skills have the inner fibre that helps turn them into great kids who are self-reliant, responsible, disciplined, resilient, economically independent, and know how to give back.
One idea in cultivating financial integrity is to confirm and create a set of family values. Formally articulating your family’s financial values will provide the guiding principles for financial decisions. It affirms what the family stands for, what it values and how the family will use its wealth and their other equally important family assets. All family members must be given the opportunity to provide their input. It should inspire and motivate, be achievable and realistic. All of these characteristics can increase the probability of family continuity from one generation to the next.
In creating a mission statement, there are several key questions to ask, including:
- What is it about money that is important to you? Example: Security and Opportunities.
- What do you want your child to learn about money? Example: Are they able to distinguish between needs (food, water and shelter) and wants (clothes and electronics)?
- What has to happen over the next few years that will make you feel comfortable about the progress your children are making on financial basics?