How Not To Be Your Child’s ATM

how not to be your child's atm

The choices we make with our money can help change the world.
~Nathan Dungan, President and Founder of Share, Save, Spend

Guess what the number one stressor is in our families today?

It doesn’t take a wild guess. Financial decisions create the most pressure in our homes right now.

The economic changes in the past two years have affected most everyone on this planet, from the goat herder in Kashmir to the knitted goods manufacturers around the world, to the person wealthy enough to purchase a cashmere sweater. In the United States, 59 percent of women and 38 percent of men say their financial situation is worse than a year ago.

As a country, we are going through the five stages of grief when dealing with our changed circumstance. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.

Perhaps when we get to the point of acceptance, this financial situation can help us restore and renew some of the values that created the cornucopia enjoyed by the United States from its inception.

Nathan Dungan, a longtime financial advisor, founder of the organization Share, Save and Spend, and author of the book, Prodigal Sons and Material Girls: How Not to Be Your Child’s ATM, suggests that we need to see money as more than a way of making financial transactions. We need to see money as a way to interact with others to express our values and culture, both as an individual and as a multi-generational family.

We can share our values through stories and modeling in a way that Dungan calls Share, Save, Spend.

These three basic actions are where we need to focus when using our money and our time. When we begin to shift our thinking from money as only a transaction and begin to view our relationship with money as an interaction, the share, save, and spend approach acts as a roadmap on how to live our lives.

What do you find easiest to do with your money, share, save, or spend? Be aware of how you spend your money. We must be intentional about our values regarding money. Intentionality will help us develop healthy money habits, which will bring us financial success. Financial success in this meaning is not necessarily about getting rich. It is about being successful in reaching personal goals.

The habit of sharing helps us consider the needs of others and instills in us a sense of gratitude. The habit of saving creates patience and inner discipline. The habit of spending can help us discern between a need and a want. Habits that will serve us well in reaching personal goals.

Dungan gives five steps to healthy money habits:

1. Understand your personal money values, and make a plan.

2. Be a share-save-spend money mentor.

3. Understand that money mistakes are okay. It’s part of the learning process.

4. Engage in experiential philanthropy, which is a combination of giving time and money.

5. Initiate a process and system for success.

Share. Save. Spend. Because the choices we make with our money can change the world, our families and ourselves, for the better.

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