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We Have Spoiled Our Grandchildren, Now We Have To Fix It!

By Neale Godfrey

As a grandparent, the biggest joy is to provide your grandchildren with all of the love and protection in the world. One of your fears is: Will they be able to survive in this world, especially one that presents them with so many economic challenges?

Skyrocketing costs of education, impossible student debt levels, and staggering home prices are just a few issues our grandchildren face in the future. I can go on and on, but I’m depressing myself! We all remember the days when we could work our way through college. This is my history and, frankly, it wasn’t that big of a sacrifice. Today, it is impossible for our grandchildren to even consider that option.

Have we really prepared them for the current financial facts of life? 

Have We Ruined Our Grandchildren Through Entitlement?

The resounding answer is, “yes.” Our grandchildren have been raised to be “entitled.” Our offspring whine for things and ultimately get them.  In fact, I was involved with a study conducted over 20 years ago about the “Nag Factor,” and cited it in my book, Money Still Doesn’t Grow On Trees.” The study showed that kids could nag their parents nine times before they would give into the demands of their children and buy them what they wanted.

Today, it is the same scenario; our kids feel that they live on Earth and therefore entitled to get what they want. Unfortunately, this is being reinforced…by us! In our day, you may have “hit up” Mom once to nag for something, then be daring enough to move on to Dad. He may have said, “Go ask your mother.”  If that was the situation, ”no” was the final answer. Entitlement? If your parents didn’t have the money, or didn’t want to buy you something…case closed. 

What You Can Do To Help Raise Financially Responsible Grandchildren

First of all, talk your children to get their buy-in before you start money lessons with your grandchildren. The first lesson is to teach them that the only way to get money is to earn it, there is no entitlement program in life. Hopefully, your children have started a simple allowance system in their home.  The kids will do chores and earn and budget their money. There are two types of chores in any home: Citizen of the Household chores, where they pitch-in and work for no money, and Work for Pay Chores where they are paid for chores.

Grandparents can set up an abridged system when the grandkids visit. Give them odd-jobs to do, like; watering plants, sweeping the walk, bringing in the mail, shoveling snow, feeding the pets, dusting a room (you get the point!). Have them spend about 15 minutes for each job and pay them $1.00 per job. Allow your grandkids to give 10% of what they earn to charity and then I bend the rules on the rest of the budget and let them spend the rest. Take them to the store, so they can use their hard-earned money. 

You are setting the stage for a healthy attitude toward money where they can joyfully. Earn, Save, Spend, and Share and never confuse Net Worth with Self Worth.

grandchildrenNeale Godfrey is a New York Times #1 Best Selling Author of 27 books all empowering families (and their kids) to take charge of their financial lives. She has released three free iOS money games, two hitting #1 in Educational Gaming. The latest is, GreenStreets: Heifer International. She began her career as one of the first female executives in banking at Chase. She created the topic of “kids & money” while serving as president of The First Women’s Bank. She opened The First Children’s Bank at FAO Schwarz and was  part of the Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship in Harlem. She has appeared numerous times on Oprah, Good Morning America, Today Show, CNN, among others. She has two wonderful kids as well as two even more wonderful grandkids.


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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