Beyoncé And Jay-Z Just Gave Us A Powerful Example Of Teaching Children About Money
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At a recent charitable event in Los Angeles, the press picked up a headline regarding an attendee who bid $19,000 for a piece of art. While this isn’t normally national news, it became a trending article because the bidder was none other than 6-year-old Blue Ivy Carter, daughter of Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
It might appear excessive for a young child to be raising a paddle at a charitable auction; and the dollar amounts involved are higher than most people can even consider donating to charity. But upon deeper inspection, this story is a powerful lesson on how money can provide a child with feelings of empowerment, charity and resiliency. Further, teaching children about money is a reflection of family values and the family’s support system – essential elements for raising a financially sound child. Beyoncé and Jay-Z are showing us one way to be model parents in this area.
“More parents are trying to educate their children about finances early. The families I work with try to teach their children how to earn money, save money, and, most importantly, distinguish between needs and wants,” says Jenna Laski, a licensed family and marriage therapist in Los Angeles.
Intention is key in teaching children about money. Parents want to create an environment where a child is shown that actions with money can achieve a variety of long-lasting results, from serving the community to accruing assets.
In the case of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, they took their daughter to an auction organized by her grandmother, where she was surrounded by family and friends. It was a safe space for making a financial decision, and her actions reflected family values. Her mother, father and grandmother are strong supporters of the involvement of the African American community in the arts.
Why Empower Children About Money?
Empowerment allows a child to feel in control of their environment and situation. Think how many adults feel "out of control" about money or that they aren’t good at finances. Allowing a child to make a money decision in a safe environment helps them feel competent and powerful in handling funds. According to Laski, it is the sense of, “I can do this. It is my money; I can do it.”
It also allows a child to think about using money to achieve goals. In Blue Ivy’s case, it was to collect art, which is an important value in her family. It is key that a child have a goal and it is even better if the goal is reinforced by their closest supporter. For most children, it’s their parents.
Making a Charitable Decision Can Be A Good Learning Tool
One of the best goals to consider for a child is that of charity. “It is essential and crucial for parents to set the mindset early on, around making a positive difference in the world,” says Laski.
Charity is also good for your child’s brain. Researchers are now focusing on the psychological impact of donating. Using MRI technology, a National Institute of Health study in the mid-2000s found that when people donated to what they saw as a meaningful cause or issue, their brains reacted in the same manner as it did when pleasure is given.
If your child loves animals or wants to be a firefighter, for example, there is an opportunity for them to use money to connect with an idea that resonates with them. Beyoncé and Jay-Z used art related to the African American experience, which is something they have probably discussed with their daughter. This approach can easily be applied to whatever issue that resonates with your child.
Creating Financial Resiliency
When children are learning about money and empowerment, it is important that they experience both success and failure. Blue Ivy initially bid $17,000 for the acrylic painting of Sidney Pointier, increased her bid to $19,000, but was eventually outbid.
Laski points out that “in creating resiliency, it is very important that parents don’t just say yes but rather the child experience the commitment to wanting something and working hard for it – whether it is the $3 toy at the drug store or $400 sunglasses. Children need to have a plan to make that happen for themselves and that it isn’t a simple yes.”
Negative financial outcomes are part of a normal financial life and should be taught to children. Everyone experiences ups and downs with money. Resiliency with finances is key – to be able to take moments that don’t work for us and find a way to either turn them around or move on. Ideally when children experience disappointing money decisions, they can pick themselves up, consider what went wrong and try for another financial goal.
Blue Ivy did just that – she bid on the next lot of art and won.
The Ultimate Triumph of Family Values
Ultimately the framework laid out by Beyoncé and Jay-Z with their daughter is one that many parents are working towards for their own children. Raising children today requires parents to focus on how the relationship with money grows. The right teachable moment can leave an imprint that last a lifetime.