Choose Your Parents Wisely

Canadian icon Dave Chilton is our third “Financial Writers Who Inspire Us” honoree. Chilton wrote his famous narrative for responsible personal finances, The Wealthy Barber, in 1989. Twenty-two years later, he takes us on a broader and deeper tour through common financial myths and mis-steps, in The Wealthy Barber Returns. He humorously scrubs fancier than necessary words from descriptions of financial concepts. In a particularly refreshing section of his newer book, he describes how “being average” isn’t actually all that bad.

Although everyone wants to be better than average, the “King of Common Sense” explains how this is just not mathematically possible, and nowhere more so than in the world of investing. We simply cannot all achieve better than average investment returns. But that’s OK, Dave explains, because if you earn average market returns and pay lower efficient fees, you can actually come out ahead of your neighbour who earns above average returns but pays average fees. Learn more in the “When Average Isn’t” chapter of his second book.

Chilton dedicated The Wealthy Barber Returns to his Mom and Dad, and credits his success to having followed “…the best advice ever given: “Choose your parents wisely!” We bet if you teach your kids to think before they buy, they might feel the same way about you one day.

Of course having money to invest in the first place isn’t necessarily the “average” family’s situation these days. But Gifting Sense was built around the belief that by giving kids a way to thoughtfully prefer an upcoming gift, they can not only develop better personal spending habits, they can also help their families spend less and save more. Birthday and holiday gift giving offers parents and guardians an opportunity at least twice a year to get kids into the habit of thinking before buying. A habit we believe is one of the best gifts parents can give their children.

We know parents, grandparents and extended family really enjoy making holiday and birthday dreams come true for their kids. So Gift Surveys not only ensure that the dreams being asked for make some kind of sense, they also make sure families are actually fulfilling wish-lists, versus sincerely attempting to do so with best guesses. Isn’t that win-win scenario the best case possible? Gift Surveys are a tool to help children get “what they really want”, but with the all-important side-dishes of money-smarts and reduced waste.

Imagine never wasting time or money purchasing, returning, or discarding under appreciated gifts again. Right now, this is not most families’ experience, but we are working hard so that one day very soon, it can be. In the interim, see if a Gift Survey can’t inject some good old fashioned think-twice-time between wanting and receiving for your kids. Witness first-hand all the good that arises when children understand the true value of their requests. It’s exactly what “neuroeconomists” recommend, says our favourite (older, wiser) Wealthy Barber.


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