Money Management: Need versus Want and Delayed Gratification

Parents everywhere I suppose have experienced the days when our kids would ask for something that we are not willing to buy for one reason or another. It could be because we don’t have the budget for it or we think that it’s just not important.  The usual reply of many parents would be: “We don’t have money.” Or “We can’t afford it.” Or “What do you think?  That money grows on trees?”

I have learned that WORD HAVE POWER.  And as a parent, I decided early that I don’t want my children to grow up with the mentality of lack.  So how do I deal with the situation when my kid wants something that I could not afford just yet?

I never told my kids: “We don’t have money.”  I tell them: “We have money for groceries or for your tuition fees and food right now.  Do you think we should buy that now?  If we buy that, we will have to divert the funds from other priorities. Which do you think is more important now?  Is that a need or a want?”

I think, it is right to treat our kids like adults; talk to them as adults; and expect them to be responsible even if they are very young.  Because, one might be surprised that kids today can be very smart and responsible.  It is wise to introduce our children to the concept of NEED vs. WANT.

If they learn this reasonable concept early on, we won’t have problems with young children, even as young as 5 years old, with throwing tantrums in shopping malls.

I’ve given my kids the power to decide and so far, they have not failed me to decide responsibly.

I remember one time when my 9-year old son wanted to buy an expensive toy.  I told him to think about it.  Just consider the pros and cons.  Whatever he decides, I’m fine with it. (Of course at that time, I already knew that years of need vs. want training has already seeped through his values.)  He decided to sleep over and the following day, he told me: “Ma, I decided not to buy it because anyway, it’s not something that I need.”

It would make every mom and dad proud when our child can already decide wisely on such things.  I tell my kids the story of “Marshmallow Experiment” every now and then since they were young:

A group of 4-year olds were given 1 marshmallow each and promised another piece if they can hold eating their marshmallow for the next 20 minutes.  Some couldn’t wait while some did.  About 30 years later, the scientist followed through with each of the children and found out that majority of those who were patient in waiting for 20 minutes became more successful than the majority of those who could not wait.

The lesson on delayed gratification is a major, major lesson in one’s success in life; whether it’s for one’s career, for relationships, for money or for health.

Delayed gratification encompasses discipline and diligence:  One must make a conscious choice whether you want to pay now and play later or play now and pay later.  If one is not able to put in everything one has while starting his career or business, he will not be able to take his plane to an altitude where he can already relax.

In relationships, how many times do people just could not stop themselves from getting back or just having the last say every time in any argument? Patience in this context does not mean just biting your tongue.  It means knowing that there is a better way of handling the conflict.  Why should you win the battle when you might lose the war? Which is more important? Sometimes losing the not-so-important battle is what it takes to win the war after all.  Is it really that important to have the last say? Or would it be better to delay your need to have the last say for the sake of better communication when both of you have calmed down and are in a better mood? Your relationship after all is more important than having the last say, isn’t it?

In money management, debts that are bad are incurred because of having low EQ (emotional quotient) or emotional intelligence.  Actually, delayed gratification is a manifestation of having high EQ. “I gotta have that NOW!” is one major reason for many credit card debts.  The practice of delayed gratification is not only good at getting us out of indebtedness, but it also helps us get more out of life.  How?  Think of the marshmallow experiment.  If you can just save and invest the small amount of cash that you have now and continue saving and investing; instead of buying just one new gadget now, you can maybe buy a better gadget and a new laptop with the compounded earnings because of your savings and investments.  Don’t you think that it makes sense?

Delayed gratification is just a phrase.  But truly, this is a powerful tool to use for financial freedom, for career growth, for responsible parenting and having a healthy family.

Do you think delayed gratification is important in our life?  When do you think parents should start teaching kids the concept of Need versus Want?

Super Parents can Educate, Guide, Influence with Online Games and Crafts

Each person is truly as unique as his fingerprints and DNA. Every being has his talents, gifts, sets of preferences and skills. Every supermom and superdad would know that each of our sons and daughters is indeed a different person. The way we communicate and treat each one of them will not be the same at all.

I’ve always believed that equality may not mean being fair. Equality could mean that if I buy a new pair of rubber shoes for one, I should buy for all. But that may not be fair at all. What if the other does not need or want a new pair of rubber shoes? What he needs could be a more expensive pair of leather shoes. If I give one a new ipod, that doesn’t mean that my other son would also like to have one too. For all we know, the other would prefer to just save the money either for himself or for another sibling. Or maybe save the money for a future bigger item purchase.

Another thing that I keep on saying to my kids is that EVERYBODY IN THIS WORLD is intelligent. One may be a genius in mathematics but poor in cooking while another has great skill in the creative concoction of new recipes while having low grades in school. This understanding that every person is a genius in his area of intelligence has allowed my children to appreciate every person instead of judging anyone as less intelligent than them.

One thing though that is the same for ALL OUR CHILDREN is this: every single one of them will at one point engage in computer games.

As parents, one of the responsibilities is to guide our children to watch the right movies, play the right games and be with the right playmates. Here are some of my insights when in comes to playtime with the kids:
1) Kids want to play and have fun. And we as parents should take the opportunity to spend the fun moments with them while they are young not only to weave beautiful memories with them but also to have the opportunity to have small talks and be able to discuss virtues and values that we want to impress upon the young minds;
2) Kids learn fastest when they are enjoying what they are doing (Hmmm… doesn’t this follow for adults too?);
3) There are a lot of games for every type of child: word games, puzzles, adventure, mystery and games of logic, etc.;
4) Since I promote a violence-free world, I influence my kids to play educational games that test their wits and reflex, or even teach some concepts of caring for a farm or aquarium and time management;
5) I cannot just buy one game and expect all my kids to enjoy that same game which could mean a bit expensive for the pocket. As a wise super mom, I can choose to look for activities that don’t need to spend money, or play the free online games, or subscribe to a game membership site for unlimited games or just find ways to make more money to afford all the games that my kids want to download! :-);
6) There are so many other activities that I can do with my kids like online scrapbooking, singing together some home-style karaoke challenge or doing crafts and making artworks.

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All of these activities are part of building trust and respect and anchors for our children to hold onto as they grow older.

Most especially, one insight that I have learned is this: The simple joys that simple games and crafts that a parent has lovingly shared with the child will create indelible heartprints even as the child grows older. Those “forgettable” moments as far as we are concerned could be among the most memorable moments that the child would treasure forever!


iWin, Inc.

iWin, Inc.