I have three kids, all were born between 1995 and 2010. So, they belong to Generation Z (Gen Z), the digital age. Referring to various sources, the Generation Z timeline tends to vary, for example 1992 – 2011 and 1994 – 2004 but I will stick to 1995 – 2010.

Gen Z kids are computer savvy, comfortable with handling electronic gadgets and digital technologies like the Internet. There is no surprise here as Gen Z kids were exposed to the Internet, computers, laptops, cell phones, iPods, iPads, video games, online networking, etc. from the time they were born.

As a Gen X parent (born between 1961 – 1981), I feel ancient sometimes but I do have some accumulated experience when it comes to money. I have been through the smooth and rough patches, the ups and downs when it comes to handling money. Therefore, I do have this one advantage over my digital savvy kids and they will benefit from whatever advice or knowledge I share with them regarding money.

I believe that some money rules are meant to stay and no matter what generation you belong to, the rules remain constant and effective. Below are several money rules of thumb that have helped many people to manage their money successfully. These are the rule of thumbs that I constantly remind my kids at home.

Save as much as possible, as early as possible
On average, each of my kids get to save about RM700 yearly from money they received as allowances, gifts and ang pows. It is not much but it is good practice for them to receive and manage some money.

Spend less than you earn
This translates to having some savings that will generate some returns for you. On top of that, you are in control of your debts. Control your spending and you control your debts. Many people are unaware that even small purchases can accumulate to become one gigantic ball of debt. This happens especially when using credit cards and not settling all the bills promptly each month.

Do not be wasteful
This applies to money as well as other things like food, groceries, water, electricity, etc.

Find ways to earn extra money
For example, a hobby or a part-time activity that can generate some passive income.

Evaluate your buying decisions and restrain from impulse buying
It is hard to resist the temptation to spend money on each visit to the shopping mall. Therefore, reduce your frequency of going out to the malls. In addition, delay your purchases for a certain period (e.g. 1 month) to factor out emotional impulse buying.

The above are easily understood by kids and young adults alike. What is your favorite money rule of thumb that you like to teach your own kids at home?

Jacquelyn is the co-author of the books “Teaching Your Kids About Money” and “Top 93 Personal Finance FAQs in Malaysia” with KC Lau. Jacquelyn is the pseudonym used by Amy Sipagal.

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