What is the point of Take Your Child To Work Day? Is it to show them what you do while they are at school? Is it to show them who you spend your time with? Is it to show them the meaning of hard work or the lifestyle of having a cozy office chair and a warm cup of brew?
I have to think the purpose of this is all of the above but in my house, I try really hard to teach our children how we invest and grow our money more than how we actually make it. Our children ask about money all the time in really subtle ways.
Daddy, why do you go to work?
Mommy, how do you pay for food with that card?
Why can’t I have more toys every day?
Money is a hard concept to understand and their jobs as adults-in-training is to be curious. We try really hard to give them straight but simple answers. But we want them to aim their lives at wealth building, not paycheck earning. So we choose our words carefully.
One of the ways we try to teach this lesson is by taking our children to our investment properties. I have explained to them that Daddy just bought this house and my goal is to fix it up nicely for another family to live in. I explain that we want to make money by renting this house to another family. I explain that this house will continue to help us make money in our family if we fix it up carefully and respectfully.
I also explain how the house came into disrepair. Note: This has the added benefit of making my children want to keep their rooms more tidy. After seeing some of the distressed properties that I have bought, they REALLY don’t want to let their rooms go. My wife loves this lesson!
My kids are getting a great education but human beings were always made to be hands-on apprentices, not receptacles of facts. This is why I really believe that they should come with me to see our deals whenever possible, with of course the proper footwear and perhaps a hard hat if necessary. Or even if not necessary because what kid doesn’t love wearing a hard hat!?
Maybe my children will grow to love real estate and maybe they won’t but I want them to understand that Daddy takes the paycheck he earns at his day job and tries to use that money to purchase performing assets. I think it is important to bring your children into your family wealth-building strategy and make them a part of the conversation. If you make investments somewhere locally, letting them come along for the ride is a great way to illustrate your point. If you make investments remotely, show them the before-and-after photos online. Explain to them how and why you have made these investments. Ask for their opinions. Show them the numbers if they are old enough to understand it. These lessons will stick with them and maybe, just maybe, make them a little more grateful for their folks that are working so hard for their sake.