It takes a village to raise a child. This is so true when it comes to improving children financial literacy.
How it all started ....
My thirst for self-improvement began at the age of 18 years old when I read Robert Kiyoski's book Rich Dad Poor Dad. That was when I caught the personal finance fever and spent the rest of my life reading hundreds of books on investing and retiring early.
The local library was my main source of personal finance magazines. This was in the days pre-internet. I was always looking forward to getting my hands on next week's Business Review Weekly (or BRW for short), Personal Investor and Money Magazine. To fill in the days waiting for the next editions to be released, I'd get my daily dose of financial wisdom by reading the Australian Financial Review newspaper. Anytime I get my hands on a copy of the newspaper, the first section I'd read is the wealth section.
I'd read while waiting for the train, while waiting in line at the shops, while waiting for my turn to be served, while waiting for my classes to begin, while waiting for friends ... . I would read when I'm on the train and during my lunch breaks at work. Basically, I read anytime I wasn't doing anything.
The books, magazines and newspapers were my equivalent of today's social media.nAll in all, I lived and breathed personal finance. Even my TV time was usually tuned to the news and finance programs.
My goal was to be able to retire before I reached 40 years old.
Then came children ...
I had just turned 26 years old when my first child was born. And then two more came into the world after her. They bring me as much joy today as they did the day they were born.
While they may look to me for guidance, nurture and love, I am the one who is most inspired by them. I learned courage from my daughter, to deal with being outside my comfort zone from my son and to be a half-cup-full type of person from my youngest son.
Before children, my sole focus was myself - who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, when I wanted to achieve my goals, where I wanted to go and how I would fit into my world. My focus was only me, me and me.
My children transformed me. I learned what it was like to love unconditionally. People say parents love their children unconditionally, but parents experience unconditional love from their young children too. I enhanced my empathy for others and learned to forgive easily and give more freely. In essence, I learned to be less self-focussed.
The beginnings of a book ....?
I returned to full-time work by the time each of my children were 3 months old. I was given 12 weeks maternity leave for each child. By today's standards that doesn't seem like a long time, but back then it was considered quite generous. So I am grateful for that 3 month period.
But it wasn't an easy decision and it was especially difficult for me in relation to the first child. Navigating the childcare world is daunting and putting a young baby in the care of complete strangers is very heart-wrenching.
But above all, it also meant I could no longer spend all of her time with her. I now have to share most of her time with childcare. And this was how I felt with each subsequent child that I had to put into childcare at 3 months old.
With this in mind, I started to think about how I can preserve their childhood memories. This became increasingly more urgent as they grew into delightful young children, full of stories and chatter ... and they were so so so funny! They made me laugh like I'd never laughed before, they filled me with joy.
One day, I realised that all of this will just become a memory. As I age, I will forget the funny things they say and do. I'm not very artistic, so I can't do stuff like art and music. Scrap booking, taking photos and making photo collages is not something I have attempted. But I desperately wanted to capture their childhood - or at least the parts that I fondly remember.
Why I wrote a book ...
I love to read, write and tell stories. I love my children's stories and the exchanges that made me laugh the most were ones centred around our conversations about money. I also enjoyed those money conversations the most. And in that lightbulb moment, I thought I'd capture these moments. But I still didn't know how I was going to capture them.
Some day I might write more about this, but for now, it suffices to say that there was a period of time in my life when I needed a life coach. Through these coaching sessions the idea of writing a book was revealed ... and I was spurred into action by a few other events that can't be explained by coincidence.
It would be a book that I can leave as legacy for my children - it's my book but it's their stories. I wanted to capture that part of their childhood that brought me most joy, satisfaction and contentment. That time period when I knew this is what I was meant to be, this is what I am meant to do with my life.
So I wrote the book mainly to capture some memories of my children's childhood. But I wanted to write it in a way that could be useful for them in the future, if they choose to read the book. And I know that books that have inspired me to take action were ones based on principles that doesn't change. While techniques and strategies can change over time, underlying principles remain the same for everyone.
These events led me to write a book on teaching young children about money by focussing on the underlying principles that can work over time and also apply to anyone.
The book was never meant to be read publicly ...
I never intended my book to be read by the public. I only ever intended my children to read the book, and only when they are all grown up. With the passage of time, I imagine they will forget many of the things in their childhood that made an impression on me.
Before children came into the picture, my life was centred on personal finance and self-improvement. When children entered my life, my life was and is centred on personal finance, self-improvement and the improvement of others.
My life coach encouraged me to experience the joy of playing again through writing. My friend encouraged me to be brave to share my principles with the world.
"The Journey Is The Reward" ...
This is one of my favourite quotes and I read it in a biography of Steve Jobs, written by Walter Isaacson. It sums up perfectly why I love teaching and coaching other people.
I love teaching my children about money and the interesting conversations we have about finance generally. I thrive in coaching others through their roadblocks. And when I see the triumph in their faces as they overcome the obstacles, this is simply priceless. It's like the heaven has opened up and all that is good is pouring out of heaven.
The immense joy, satisfaction and contentment I feel when I coach and teach others probably explains why I have been teaching for more than 20 years (yes I started teaching at the age of 20 years old, when most of my students were older than me)! And that's not even my full time job! I teach and coach on the side because I love it so much (I wouldn't have done it for more than 20 years otherwise).