Kids, money, responsibility and success
The day the cleaner walked out the front door never to come back was the day the McQueen kids were first confronted with the harsh realities of making and managing money.
“We start right here,” says Hannah McQueen, the accountant with a master’s degree in taxation law and now something she calls a financial personal planner. Like the personal trainer at the gym except dealing in dollars and cents. And there is a need.
“It’s a weird thing – there are a lot of people out there earning good money but they’re not making the financial progress that their incomes suggests.”
But all this isn’t about tidying up after the McQueen kids lost their cleaner. It’s about the power of pocket money.
“My husband and I work full-time so I am pretty good at justifying why I want and need a cleaner.
“The kids had to do basic chores, but there was always someone who would come along and say the cleaner will tidy that up,” says Hannah. “And I am thinking ‘who lets you think like this, apart from me’.” So the cleaner was ‘released’ – shown the door in the interests of a healthy new respect for money and learning about earning money.
As parents we want to be able to give our kids everything they need – it makes us feel good about ourselves. “But in giving them everything they need, you wonder whether you have given them everything they actually need.” And what they actually need is the skills to navigate the path to financial success.
Hannah got started on her own kids, aged just eight and four years old.
“These kids are so entitled and I am supposed to be a financial expert. They have this expectation they will always get what they need whenever they need it.”
Lesson one was pocket money. Earning pocket money gives you options and choices and if you work different and smarter you will earn more money and have more choices. So, says, pocket money is all about how you earn money and not how you spend it.
Hence the title of her new book ‘Pocket Money to Property: How to Create Financially Independent Kids.”
A couple of years ago she noticed things that needed sorting – three things that are the key ingredients of her book. There were the kids with the ingrained sense of entitlement. “There were also clients looking for a plan to sort their own retirement and their kids who should be independent but aren’t.” Then there were the millennials she’s coaching. “From a financial perspective, I recognised it’s harder for them to get ahead so there were problems here that needed sorting.”
The financial personal planner says we need to have some pretty honest conversations about money. “They should be like conversations around screen time or eating healthy – it should all be part of the dialect.”
But unfortunately, and this surprised Hannah, adults or parents are often the ones standing in the way of our kids knowing what they need to know about money.
“Our kids are encouraged to reach for the stars and do whatever they want – be brilliant, the world is yours. But no-one is taught how to do that, how to achieve that, no one is taught there are financial implications and restraints that will make that hard.”
Again, she says there are conversations not being had, and some of them are confronting. “Because while people are saying do something that you are passionate about, they don’t then say passion and poverty tend to go hand in hand.”
Hannah says these are the conversations you need to have with your children when they are 15 or 16 years old before they have chosen a career. But you can’t have those conversations unless you have built the right platforms so that it’s just another chat, building on all the other things you have taught your kids along the way.
So talks about pocket money from ages six to eight, from eight to nine some exposure to the costs incurred by a family, from 10 to 13 talks about managing an allowance to cover their costs, at 15 there should be talk about getting a job, and at 16 full disclosure about the family finances and what you have done right and wrong financially as a parent.
And in an ideal world you would hook them up with someone who could open their eyes as to what their career paths may be.
Hannah is setting out on a nationwide tour holding seminars on how to create financially independent kids. She will be drawing on what’s in her book and explain the importance of teaching kids about money.
Hannah McQueen will be at the ASB Stadium in Truman Lane, Te Maunga, on Monday, June 26 from 7-8.30pm. Tickets are $30, 20 per cent of which will be donated to your nominated school. You nominate the school at check-in on the night.
The Weekend Sun has a double pass to give away to a lucky reader who can tell us the name of Hannah McQueen’s new book.
Enter online at www.sunlive.co.nz under the competition section. All entries must be received by Wednesday, June 21.