The money lies we tell

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - ROB STOCK

Su­per­heroes have ori­gin sto­ries.

Bat­man’s par­ents were mur­dered by a gun-tot­ing mug­ger.

The Hulk was zapped by gamma ra­di­a­tion.

Spi­derman was bit­ten by a ra­dioac­tive spi­der.

There’s a ten­dency among peo­ple with money to have well­honed ori­gin sto­ries too.

And like su­per­hero ori­gin sto­ries, they’re of­ten not very be­liev­able.

I don’t think peo­ple al­ways lie about the ori­gin story of their wealth on pur­pose.

Hu­mans have a nat­u­ral ten­dency to take credit for their suc­cess with money, and for­get the help they had along the way.

And these days ev­ery­one wants to be seen as ‘‘self-made’’.

Per­haps you’ve no­ticed how peo­ple will hap­pily tell you ev­ery­thing about how they came to own their home, ex­cept that their mum helped them buy it.

As most of the re­search from the Har­vard Univer­sity Equal­ity of Op­por­tu­nity Project sug­gests, more of­ten than not, peo­ple with Try to have an hon­est ori­gin story Con­fess your er­rors Ac­knowl­edge the help you had

money should start their ori­gin sto­ries with the words: ‘‘Thanks to mum and dad, I…’’ So why am I telling you this? Be­cause at some stage, you’ll find your­self telling your ori­gin money story to some­one you care about, like your chil­dren, or grand­chil­dren.

You will be try­ing to be help­ful, but you may end up do­ing more dam­age than good, if you choose to ped­dle myth over hon­esty.

Massey Univer­sity’s FinEd Cen­tre shows young peo­ple’s most im­por­tant money ad­vis­ers are par­ents.

Just un­der half of young­sters (aged 22-27) said they had learnt most of their money smarts from el­der fam­ily mem­bers.

The fi­nan­cial ad­vice of fathers, moth­ers and grand­par­ents is val­ued and needed.

So, feel free to share you life­lessons, but don’t be­gin by claim­ing im­pos­si­ble virtues like su­per-pru­dence or an iron sav­ings dis­ci­pline you never re­ally pos­sessed, or you risk leav­ing your young peo­ple feel­ing dis­heart­ened.

Don’t over-egg the hard­ship of your up­bring­ing ei­ther, or gloss over your rel­a­tive priv­i­lege when telling your money ori­gin story.

Be es­pe­cially care­ful to avoid claim­ing you were from a su­pe­rior gen­er­a­tion.

There’s a bit of a myth in cir­cu­la­tion that 30 to 40 years ago young peo­ple worked harder and were more pru­dent.

Pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions didn’t have ac­cess to to­day’s easy credit and 24/7 shop­ping, and yet they weren’t spec­tac­u­lar savers. Most over 65s are get­ting by largely on NZ Su­per, not sav­ings.

And when shar­ing your fi­nan­cial wis­dom, make sure you ac­knowl­edge the help you got in achiev­ing your suc­cesses.

Be es­pe­cially hon­est about what you did wrong, or re­gret.

A Hori­zon poll from 2017 re­ported that four in 10 peo­ple aged 65 or over re­gret­ted not get­ting fi­nan­cial ad­vice.

Young­sters can learn from your mis­takes, if you have the courage to ad­mit them.

And lis­ten be­fore talk­ing. They face some chal­lenges you didn’t.

Then go for gold with your ad­vice.

Hope­fully, if you do a good job, there’ll be more gold piled up in your young­ster’s fu­ture.

We are of­ten the su­per-pow­ered heroes of our own money ‘ori­gin’ sto­ries.

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