Financial Lessons We Learned in Kindergarten
At one time or another, we all have likely heard someone longing for the “good old days.” It is quite common to look back nostalgically at simpler times when we had less stress and fewer responsibilities.
While there are certainly advantages to growing up and getting older, we can glean some financial wisdom from the things we learned as kindergarteners. Maybe your kindergarten classroom seems like a distant memory, but let’s put on our thinking caps and use our imaginations to inform the financial decisions we make today. Here are some lessons that remain applicable today.
Have a good attitude
Remember when your report card focused on getting along with others, sharing with your classmates, respecting your teacher, following instructions, using your creativity, and having a good attitude? Getting these things right at an early age is important. Maintaining that positive attitude can be challenging as you get older and experience the ups and downs of life. However, the troubles you face, financial or otherwise, will be much less daunting if you approach them with positivity and the genuine belief that you can overcome obstacles.
Take naps, eat snacks, and go on field trips
Many times, we fall into a routine with our financial lives. It goes something like this: go to work, get your paycheck, pay your bills, set aside money in savings, repeat. While it may not be practical to take a nap, sit down for snack time, or go on a field trip during your workday, these activities translate into important concepts that can break up our financial routines, provide times of refreshment, and open our eyes to new ideas.
Pay attention to details
Lessons I distinctly remember from kindergarten are learning to pay attention to details and learning to recognize patterns. In our financial lives, we will do ourselves a favor by paying attention to the details of our income, expenses, savings, debts, and investments. In many situations, we can avoid costly mistakes by reading the fine print. Pattern recognition is especially important with regard to our spending habits. It is easy for our spending to increase as our income increases, so it pays to be self-aware with the goal of keeping our spending under control.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” That question is fun for kindergarteners to ponder, and it remains relevant throughout our lives. When we are young, our answers often relate to future careers such as a firefighter, doctor, teacher, or professional athlete. As we grow older, our answers may focus more on the visions we create for our lives and the goals we set along the way. Continuing to ask that question, even after achieving financial success, can be a way to motivate ourselves to bigger, better, and more meaningful things.
Celebrate achievements, but never stop learning
The 100th day of the school year, or “100 Day,” is exciting for kindergarteners because it is full of fun activities and lessons that help them celebrate the milestone date. Adults should also take time to celebrate financial achievements, such as paying off debts or meeting savings goals, in order to reinforce positive behaviors.
Just as a good teacher inspires her students to continue learning long after the school year has ended, so we should nurture mindsets of lifelong learning with our personal finances. Celebrate the progress you have made and look forward to the progress you will make as you further your financial education.