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Wealth Building: What You Should Be Teaching Your Kids

Nassim Taleb, a philosopher and writer, said that it is easier to get a point across with stories. Maybe that is why religious texts are not technical instruction books, and maybe why some students struggle to understand concepts when they are presented with sterility in textbooks.

Here are a few anecdotal stories about real people that parents should read. They demonstrate the mindset that you should have as a parent, along with a few values that you should be teaching your children.

My Cleaner Owns The Most Expensive House On Our Street

I do not live on a particularly exclusive street, but it is an area where you need a lot of money if you want to buy a house. After doing a little research, I discovered that the woman that cleans my house owns the most expensive house on my street. It is only a four bed roomed semi detached, and as of 2016, it is worth £770,000 (which is a lot of money for a house outside of a major city). The woman that cleans my toilet owns the most expensive house in the street, so I had to find out how and why.

She is married to a man that is a good earner. He is only an engineer, but he puts in a lot of hours. He also works on gardens when he has days off. My cleaner works in an accountancy as something other, and in her spare time she cleans houses. They bought their house around 12 years ago and added another bedroom. They have now paid it off, and they did it by working hard. It is a simple as that. The amount they earn in their full-time jobs is more than enough to live on, but they each have part-time jobs too. Their secret is simple–they work hard. In the evenings, they spend their time with their kids and each other, and during the day they work.

Hiring People Is Tough

If you are a small business owner, you will know that hiring people is tough. People do not want to work. It seems that people want an easy job. In the UK, where I live, unemployment benefits and benefits for having children are so high that people want a massive wage just to convince them to get off of benefits. People do not want to seem to work, and yet here is my cleaner, the woman that is on her knees right now trying to polish out the scuffmarks my shoes made on the floor, owns an expensive house and is still building wealth to this day.

Her Youngest Boy Is A Saver

She told me how her daughter seems to enjoy spending, but how her son, who is only 7 years old, seems to enjoy saving his money. He says he learned the trait from his dad, and I was amazed. Children are taught from an early age to attach joy and happiness to spending and owning. They are bombarded with this message everywhere they go, and yet they have already managed to teach their child the joy of saving. Her efforts to instill such ideas into her older daughter’s head seem to have fallen on stony ground, but I was most impressed with the fact her son enjoys saving.

The Mother Couldn’t Find Anything To Praise

My girlfriend is not a smart cookie, she never has been. She has a very strange way of looking at the world, which makes her a fantastic problem solver and networker, but she is not a smart woman. I once told her the car was running slow because it had an octopus under the bonnet, and I caught her looking online to find a solution. I once told her that parsnips are just carrots that have been bleached, and she was appalled that supermarkets were able to get away with conning people like that.

What Did Her Mother Do?

In my opinion, parents praise a child for three things, for doing well in school, for athletic achievement, and for looking good. Very few praise a child for having good values or being altruistic. My girlfriend was not smart in school, she was never an athlete, and she didn’t grow into her looks until she was 16, when her body matured. Until she was sixteen, her mother figured she had nothing to praise her for, so she would make a big deal whenever her daughter did anything kind.

Kindness Didn’t Kill The Cat

My girlfriend has three sisters. They were praised for things such as being smart, getting handsome boyfriends, playing netball, looking good and so forth. My girlfriend was praised for being kind, and now my girlfriend is worth 10x more than her sisters are.

What Is The Link Between Kindness And Wealth?

Typically, people that are rich are thought to be mean and hardhearted, but my girlfriend has made a fortune through being kind and saving rather than spending. I have seen her do hundreds of kind things that she has never been compensated for, but she doesn’t do it to be compensated, she does it because she figures it is the right thing to do. However, upon occasion, she is compensated, and boy is she compensated.

Her Kind And Caring Nature Is Not Considered Contrived

She does kind acts almost by default. She doesn’t have to think about it, she does it as easily as she breathes in or out. There have even been times when I have seen two people arguing on a plane, and rolled my eyes because I know she is going to step in to stop it so the other passengers do not feel so afraid. I have started buying more food at Christmas because I know she is going to end up giving most of it away to our elderly neighbors.

Her attitude does leave her vulnerable to people that would willingly take advantage of her, but I think of it the same way I do with no-quibble refund policies. You are always going to have people take advantage, but that doesn’t mean you should change what you are doing, you should just be a little more cautious.

Examples Of How She Has Been Compensated

As mentioned earlier, she has been compensated for her kind acts, and in most cases she turns people down, but here are a few where she did not. Off the top of my head, here are a few instances where she has been rewarded for her kindness while I have known her:

{=} A lost woman she drove home from a countryside area gave her a job as an office manager, which also came with benefits that included 40% off pet food.

{=} A woman that my girlfriend helped in the street when a man tried to assault her made friends with her on Google+. The same woman sold her a bike worth £320 for just £20 because she wanted it to go to a good home.

{=} She helped an old man pick up broken paving slabs and put them in a skip when she saw him struggling when she was walking our dog. The man gave her a garden set, which was handy because we didn’t have one at the time.

{=} In her old city flat, she used to help the students by watching their laundry in the laundry room while ever she was down there (it stops thieves). One of the student’s fathers owned a chain of four-star hotels that he let her use for free when his son introduced her and told him she had been looking out for him.

{=} She linked a construction contractor with a concrete mold maker that I used to deal with. He sent her a check for £2500 that he called her finder’s fee.

{=} She appeased a very loud complaining man for a nervous receptionist at a doctor’s office. On her next visit, the receptionist had her pick up a large rabbit cage from her house worth £180 that she gave my girlfriend for free.

Add This To Her Money-Saving Ways

My girlfriend is better off financially because of the way people treat her. She is kind by default, and people seem to respond to it in the most amazing ways. However, it is not just this that has led my girlfriend to become a fairly wealthy woman. It is also my girlfriend’s ability to save money and not overspend.

I have had girlfriends that spend a fortune on cosmetics, clothes, cell phone plans, shoes and so forth. My current girlfriend is far more pragmatic. The very notion of buying a dress, wearing it once, and throwing it away is not something she considers clever or fun (unlike some of my exs). She could have thousands in cash rolled up in her coat pocket, and she will still only buy sensibly priced items. Most of my other girlfriends would have been straight down to the jewelry shop.

Is Her Mother To Blame?

As a parent, her mother should take some of the blame for the way my girlfriend turned out. If she had not praised kind acts, my girlfriend may have turned out differently. However, I firmly believe that we have the power to change and direct our own lives. Nevertheless, as a parent, think hard about you praise your child for. Praising your child for intelligence, looks and athletic ability is fine, but why not offer equally enthusiastic praise for your child being polite, altruistic, funny and for saving rather than spending. You may help instill far better and precious values if you do.

About The Author

Ben Todd

Ben was a seriously broke graduate student with bad credit who after finding himself rejected for any sort of credit card or loan for most of his adult life, finally decided to get his financial life in order. 'He spent several years reading as many financial advice books and blogs as he could.And suprisingly, Ben found he actually LIKED the topic of personal finance; after fixing his own finances, starting his own successful work at home website business, and using his earnings to get out of debt, created echeck.org to help others do likewise!

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