A reader and workshop participant turned Facebook Friend wrote to me to share a piece he did for his daughters Trysha (13 years old) and Magie (8 years old). It was intended to be a constant reminder for his daughters as they embark on their financial journey. He also requested me to please give a message to his daughters. He said they know me as the one who wrote The Retelling of the Richest Man in Babylon. I’m sharing with you my message because it is applicable to all children who wish to grow up to be financially happy.
Dear Trysha and Magie,
I wish to congratulate you for having a father who really cares for you and is serious in raising you to have high FQ. All parents want the best for their children but sometimes we get confused as to how much we should give in order to show our love to you and how much we should withhold in order to make the best of you.
There will be times when you might feel that your friends are having a better deal and are enjoying their life more than you are because of all these saving and investing reminders you constantly get from your parents. But you know, you will appreciate all of these when you start reaping the rewards of a financially disciplined adult.
As you recall in the book, there are three basic laws of money that we have to live by.
- Basic Law 1: Pay yourself first. Remember Arkhad? This was the very first law he had to master before he became the richest man in Babylon. I wish you’re already doing that by now. For your allowance, always set aside as savings a certain percentage once you receive it. For starters, save at least 20% of your regular allowance. Then each time you receive extra cash in the form of gifts (remember Christmas is coming), tips and other earnings you might receive for doing a chore or winning a prize, always set aside something for your future self before you start spending a single centavo.
- Basic Law 2: Get into something that you understand and seek advice only from competent people. Now that you’re young and still in school, I want you to always observe where you’re good at. Do you love Math? Reading? Arts? P.E.? Science? Are you good at speaking before an audience? Selling? Writing? You know why? When you grow up and start working, it will be best for you to get into something that you’re gifted with, something that you love doing even if you don’t get paid. If this talent satisfies others’ needs, then chances are, this is where God is calling you. This is also your sweet spot, where you will be most successful and happy. Believe it or not, this is where you will be truly rich. As far as your investments at this early stage in your life are concerned, it’s best if you put your money in companies that you understand. Or better yet, just ask your dad to help you invest in index funds.
- Basic Law 3: Make your gold work for you. Make an army of golden slaves before you buy luxury. I hope you remember how Algamish scolded Arkhad when the latter immediately spent his savings on luxury. You know this law is what separates those who just get by from those who accumulate considerable wealth. This is the only way that you can maximize the benefit of compounding through time. It’s a good thing that your dad started you out early because time is your greatest ally when it comes to investing. Let me share with you Tita Rose’s guiding principle when it comes to buying luxury: Buy luxury only if you can afford 10 pieces of it. This is also a great way to exercise your delaying gratification skills, a very important life skill.
The basic laws are very simple but simple does not always mean easy, so let me share with you some life hacks so you can keep yourselves on track:
- Use a simple excel file to see the magic of compounding! You can download a file for free from this link. This is what I showed to my sons when they were still little boys. They put in the amount they committed to save each week and they were floored to see that they could accumulate a million pesos even in their teens if they just religiously save and invest.
- Ask your dad to help you come up with your Balance Sheet. A Balance Sheet is just a picture, just like a selfie of what you own and what you owe. Hopefully, you don’t have any debts yet. When you see your Balance Sheet growing each time you update it (you can do it every quarter if you like), it will be easier for you to delay your gratification. It can help you say, “Dad, we think we will just buy SM shares instead of shopping at SM!”
- Remember that you are children of God and are worthy with or without the latest gadgets that your parents sometimes are not willing to buy for you. Concentrate on what you’re good at, what you already have, so you don’t focus too much on what you don’t have.
- Vacations are always fun! This coming summer and Christmas breaks, try to think of ways you can earn extra cash. It will make your vacations more exciting.
- Help someone you care for. I notice that your dad keeps reminding you this in his letter. I think the energy, meaning and pleasure you derive from helping will encourage you to keep on with your journey. It may be as simple as teaching your friends and cousins the basic laws of money so that they too will have a high FQ like you.
And you know what’s best here? When your parents see that you have a good grasp of your FQ, they will allow you to follow your passion when you start deciding on what course to take, what career to pursue. You know why? A lot of parents who interfere with their children on their choices are those who are afraid that their young ones will end up with little or no money in their chosen fields, a far cry from the pampered life they’re used to “Anak, baka gutom ang aabutin mo kung yan ang papasukin mo!” There are times when parents get in the way of fulfilling Basic Law 2. But if they see you good with money, they can sit back and relax because they know that with high FQ, they have armed you with Economic Self-Defense!
There you go. I wish you a great financial journey!
- I will speak at the SM Retail, Inc.’s Early Retirement Program event on November 16, 2015 at 10am. This will be at the Building A Auditorium of SM Corporate Offices, Pasay City.
- I will speak at the Knowledge Community, Inc. on How to Raise and Nurture Children to have High FQ on November 19, 2015 at the Crown Plaza Hotel.
- I will speak at the SM Retail, Inc.’s Early Retirement Program part 2 on November 26, 2015 at 10am. This will be at the Building A Auditorium of SM Corporate Offices, Pasay City.
- I will speak at the 6th PANA (Philippine Association of National Advertisers) Foundation IMC Youth Congress on November 27, 2015 at the Philippine Trade Training Center, Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. cor. Roxas Blvd., Pasay City.
Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom, and Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom.
ATTRIBUTIONS: Photos from fotosearch.com and shutterstock.com, 123clipartpictures.com put together to help deliver the message. Thanks Prosperen Riqueza for sharing your letter to your daughters, and for your efforts in helping spread financial literacy.
This article is also published in PhilStar.com and RaisingPinoyBoys.com.