How much do you want for Christmas?

April 9, 2018
Posted in Blog
April 9, 2018 Mduduzi Luthuli

If you want to change your family’s legacy with wealth, then you need to change the conversations that you’re having with your family!

Be deliberate in educating your kids about saving for retirement. Yes… retirement. If you feel that it’s a long way off for them, just remember how close it suddenly became for you. Being deliberate in educating our children about saving for long-term goals can, contrary to our initial thoughts, be quite fun and extremely practical.

If we chat to successful investors we quickly learn that long-term investing is not so much about the long-term goal as much as it is about the mindset and behaviour around saving. If we can use helpful and encouraging words in our conversations, and adopt attitudes of positivity, we’re already leaving the starting blocks with strong legs for a long race.


How often do we try to lead by example, but we land up communicating something entirely different? Don’t simply lead by example and hope that everyone will understand, set a new example by using your actions to communicate the same messages as your family conversations, hence; communicate by example.

If we simply act, but fail to explain or discuss these actions to our children in our conversations at home, we could be sending mixed messages and diluting the new example that we’re trying to set.


Ask your children this question: How much money do you want for the Christmas holidays? Christmas, no matter how close, always seems far away for kids. But, knowing what they want… well – they can spend hours talking about this!

Instead of arriving at the end of the year and simply giving your children what they want; help them plan to get there over the months ahead. Whether they would want money for gifts, outings with their friends, movies, clothes or gadgets, get them to write everything down. You’re now teaching them about a budget, and lifestyle choices that they need to finance. Not too dissimilar to planning for retirement.

Once they know how much they want, you can help them work out how much they need to save each week or month (depending on their pocket money schedule) to have enough for the holidays. They will soon realise that the earlier they start saving, the less they will have to keep aside each month (relative to their pocket money), and the more they will have when they reach their goal.

Without trying too hard, you’ve now created an easy way for your kids to understand the benefit of setting a goal that is based on their lifestyle choices, and can be supported by their income if they plan to save for it!

You can apply this over longer terms too – for example:

  • How much money would you like at your 18th or 21st birthday?
  • How much money would you like for your Grade 10 camp?
  • How much money would you like for your soccer/netball tour next year?

Planning for retirement doesn’t just happen. Wise investing isn’t an overnight skill. Both of these require many conversations that allow us to change our behaviour over time and are in line with what we really want. Having these conversations with your family is a safe and powerful exercise that doesn’t only benefit you, but will hopefully change the legacy of your children and grandchildren!