“Keeping up with the Kardashians” – Dangerous to your wallet and your kids!
In the past, it used to be fairly easy to “keep up with the Joneses”. They were our neighbours, living in the same community, going to the same supermarket,playing in the same neighbourhood leagues. Keeping up with the Joneses simply meant closing a gap between what they had and what we didn’t. If they went on a Caribbean vacation, we took a similar holiday. If they bought a shiny new car, we wanted one too. Of course, not all of us played that game, but for those who did, the consequences weren’t going to break the bank for us.
Fast-forward to today. No one is trying to keep up with the Joneses. Instead, the game is to keep up with the Kardashians – that is, try to imitate that reality-TV glimpse into the lives of the ultra-rich and famous. Now it’s about striving to buy the same fancy designer handbags & sunglasses, Louboutin shoes, high-end cars, and so on. And that can break the bank indeed.
Reality shows like this are creating unrealistic spending habits for people, habits they usually can’t afford. Playing along at home means giving in to extravagant – and dangerous – wants. Dangerous because this isn’t just living beyond your means, it’s living way beyond any realistic means. Dangerous too because this glimpse of “reality” is everywhere, and it can affect your children’s sense of what realistic spending is all about.
Learning about money and finances at a young age is critical, especially with the influences of marketing media in all forms. With a realistic understanding of money children can learn to distinguish the difference between needs and wants, the importance of living within their means, and the sense of freedom that comes with fiscal responsibility. Financial freedom may mean different things to different kids, but at heart it’s knowing that they don’t have to give in to the unrealistic “ideals” that bombards them everywhere, and that they’ll have the money to do what they really want to do when the time comes.
As parents, we try to inspire our kids to succeed and do great things, often to become more economically successful than we are. There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to improve your financial condition, and to move up to that next higher socio-economic rung on the ladder. But it’s our job to teach our children the financial responsibility it takes to get there. It’s simple: don’t spend the money before you get there!
Submitted by Deborah McMillan, Founder & CEO of Knowledge Makes Cents.
Published: November 20, 2018