Cultures differ throughout the world and some speak more openly than others. One topic that families can be very tight-lipped about is money.
This can be the case for many reasons: embarrassment, fear, humbleness, trying to avoid offence, saving face or other aspects that make up cultural norms and standards for behavior.
Though openness about money differs from family to family, speaking about wealth is considered distasteful by many cultures. It may seem pleasant to avoid what some consider a dirty topic but there are certain people that you should be discussing money with and it might be the last people you think to discuss it with: your kids. You are doing your children a big disservice if you don’t teach them about money early on in their lives.
Financial planning consultant Richard Cayne of Meyer International works with clients from all over the world but the bulk of his clients are Japanese. Over the years he has noticed that Japanese families don’t often discuss money. This is not specific only to Japan but true in many other Asian nations as well.
“It’s not exactly something people would talk about around the dinner table,” said Richard Cayne about the often-taboo topic.
What Kids Are Taught
“In most Asian schools they don’t teach Finance 101, so many Japanese and other Asian students might graduate from school being pretty financially illiterate. They are taught how to get good jobs and how to keep them. That is the extent of what they are taught about money: Get a good job, keep it and you will receive money. But the truth is, they should know so much more than that simple equation,” said Richard Cayne, who is a certified financial planning consultant serving a Japanese client base in Bangkok.
He noted that this system of being financially tight-lipped has stuck around for far too long. He also noted that a large majority of people still live hand-to-mouth and paycheck-to-paycheck even if they make a large salary.
Why This Should Be Improved
It should be improved because people can live so much better and safer than hand-to-mouth if they are educated about money and how to make it work for them instead of remaining in the never-ending “earn-spend-earn” cycle.
By teaching kids about credit cards, interest, interest rates, inflation, investing, retirement planning and emergency planning you are providing them with a lifetime of possible financial security. After all, people can’t be expected to save regularly and invest well if they’ve never been taught about these concepts and their benefits.
It may be unseemly but talking to your kids about money early and often is one of the greatest things you can do to ensure their comfort and well-being long after you are gone.
For further information about talking about money or other investment topics, Richard Cayne and Meyer International can be reached at (+66) 02 611 2561