There’s a huge contrast between the way, say American parents raise their children when it comes to money and the way Nigerian parents do. I’ve started to wonder if this feeds into the way we relate to finances as adults.
For instance, I read John D. Rockefeller’s biography, Titan. He describes his dad giving him weekly allowance and making him keep strict records of how he spends or saves it in his own little diary/pocketbook. They would go over it every month. He credits his good financial and record keeping habits from this early experience with money from childhood. Many Americans report similar behavior, saving up pocket money, being taught to keep legitimate accounts of it, and dipping into their own ‘savings’ to buy little things they need. A lot of Americans start early to see the relationship between their ability to budget and save and their ability to afford things. And when they want to afford more, they are encouraged to find ways to make money. This is seen in the culture of American children doing newspaper delivery, lemonade stands, babysitting jobs, lawn mowing jobs and more, sometimes before they’re even ten.
Contrast this with most Nigerian kids who do not have much knowledge about anything money at age ten, and many times even older. Did you have savings as a 6 year old? I highly doubt it. Instead, when you get money as gifts from adults, your parents say “let me hold that for you” and it disappears into a black hole. For me, it took boarding school for me to first try to understand how to stretch my ‘pocket money’ out until visiting day, how to skip daily trips to the ‘tuck shop’ in order to keep money for essentials etc. Even then, it has been years of struggle trying to learn how to really be disciplined and responsible with finances, and while I’m relatively better at it today, I still look back at my formative years and wish more emphasis had been placed on that side of my education, rather than only academic skills and sports.
I have a feeling many of you have the same experience. In that case, how can we bridge this gap as we ourselves start to become parents? How can we help ourselves develop these skills now as adults, and how can we teach our kids the things our parents never taught us?
I have plans and dreams to contribute my efforts in this regard. In the mean time, my team and I launched a product that allows you to move your investments from naira to dollars and earn a decent dollar return over time. If you are interested in doing this, check out Cashestate. You can start from as little as $100, with a few caveats. Seriously, give it a look. Because if we’re all about being financially savvy, then we should know that keeping your money in naira is not it.