“The most important thing in the world is family and love.” – John Wooden

Our upbringing plays an essential role in shaping our future, particularly our beliefs about money. If we took a trip down memory lane, we’d likely hear an echo of parental sayings like “money doesn’t grow on trees.” 

While meant to teach us financial discipline, such phrases often establish a scarcity mindset that influences our adult lives and the money messages we pass on to our children.

Think back to your childhood. Was money spoken of as a limited, hard-to-reach resource? Or was it portrayed as a tool for creating opportunities and building a comfortable life? 

The money messages we received in our formative years will influence our financial behaviour and decisions in adulthood. Therefore, it becomes essential to impart healthy financial perspectives to the next generation, as the financial seeds we sow in their minds today will bear the fruits of their financial decisions tomorrow.

True, money requires smart handling. However, statements like “we can’t afford that” could foster a scarcity mentality, limiting our ability to perceive and seize opportunities and creating a cycle of fear and negativity around finances.

Instead, what if we cultivated an abundance mindset? What if we used positive language around money to highlight possibilities and opportunities? Let’s imagine your child desiring a new toy that isn’t currently within your budget. Instead of the curt dismissal, try saying, “That’s not in our spending plan right now, but let’s take a picture of it. We can make a plan to see how we can make it work in the future.”

We can use such instances as teachable moments, encouraging our children to discover creative ways to earn money, such as saving their allowance, doing odd jobs, starting a small venture, or even learning about investing.

In the process, we can foster a positive narrative around money:

  • “Lots of people earn money doing jobs they love.”
  • “We can do a lot of good with money.”
  • “I’m grateful for the money we have.”

We must be cautious to avoid passing down limiting beliefs. Here are three phrases we should retire and the alternatives we could adopt:

  1. “We can’t afford that” vs “That’s not in our spending plan right now, but let’s add it to our wishlist. We will see how it can work in the future.” 

This shift can teach our children to see beyond the “here and now” and understand that improving where we are is always possible.

  1. “Money doesn’t grow on trees” vs “There’s a lot of money in the world, and you can learn how to earn as much as you need.” 

This adjustment can prevent the development of a scarcity mindset and encourage a worldview where money is plentiful.

  1. “Money doesn’t buy happiness” vs “Money is a good thing to have.” 

While money doesn’t guarantee happiness, it is necessary for a comfortable life and can provide joy through experiences, travel, etc.

Additionally, here are five more positive phrases to instil an abundance mindset:

  •  “Many people make money doing what they love.”
  •  “There is enough money in the world for everyone.”
  •  “We can do a lot of good with money.”
  •  “I am grateful for the money I have.”
  •  “We can always make a plan to figure out how we can afford something.”

As we mould our children’s perspectives on money, let’s remember that the aim is not just to teach them how to earn and save, but to help them understand that money is a tool that can create opportunities and enable them to live a fulfilling life. 

In the grand scheme of things, we are not just raising children; we are nurturing the next generation of financially literate adults. This financial knowledge, along with a nurturing environment filled with family and love, is one of the most enduring legacies we can leave our children to thrive in their lives.