Reflections from the children of a financial plannner
by assorted Labinsky children, with input from Baruch Labinsky.
Growing up with a financial planner as a parent means that we absorbed concepts without even realizing it. It was only when we compared stuff with our friends that we discovered that we were doing things differently. Our father thought if we write this article for the teen edition, it would be an interesting perspective. So here are a few windows into life in the Labinsky home. We asked our father for his thoughts on our thoughts, and they are included – so you get the professional viewpoint too!
Budgeting and planning
When we were younger, we were the only ones out of our friends who had a monthly allowance. Every child got a certain amount of money to spend according to their age and needs. We still remember so clearly one episode that really taught us about budgeting.
Our father gave us NIS 10 to buy candy. We raced out of the house and rushed to the store where we filled a bag with our favorite treats. When the bag was weighed it came to NIS 15. We looked at each other not wanting to return any of the candy, until the store owner offered us a perfect solution. He suggested we take all the candy, and come back another time and pay the extra NIS 5. It goes without saying that our father was less than impressed when we told him how clever the store assistant was. He made us go back to the store and only keep NIS 10 worth of candies. That was a lesson in budgeting, and only spending what we could afford, that none of us ever forgot.
From then on, if we knew we had a tiyul that month we’d make sure not to spend our money but instead save it to buy things for our trip. We remember our friends being jealous of us that we got money to spend every month.
Our father says that budgeting is the key to successful financial planning. By not giving in to us when we were young meant we really learned that lesson well and therefore our spending habits are based on what we have.
Our journeys up north for annual summer vacations were when our father would say, “Ok kids, now is your chance, ask all your questions!” and we would spend the ride discussing how finances, pensions, and investments work. The younger ones in the car didn’t necessarily understand every detail, but as we all grew up we understood more, and the financial terms became things we were really familiar with. Don’t get us wrong – it’s not that we discuss finances the whole time, but we all know that we can ask any question at any time – not just during long car journeys! Often, when sitting round the table for a meal, the conversation will turn into something financially related, which we are all interested in as we are trying to save money and are conscious of costs.
For example, we are all aware of our Bituach Leumi child savings’ account. We know the different investment tracks and what are the possible options, and we all check the statements every year so we know what’s going on.
According to our father many people are put off by all the different saving opportunities as they just aren’t familiar with them, so it’s something they avoid. By growing up with the terms and options we aren’t ‘scared’ of any of it.
When each of us turn 18 we get money from our grandparents. To be honest, there’s not much discussion there. Our father tells what he invested in, explains to us the plusses and minuses of it and makes sure we are ok with it. All of us who have received the money so far, just trusted him and agreed to everything. (Although even if we didn’t it wouldn’t matter because he would do what he thought was best anyhow!) Seriously though, our father says that even when you really trust the person who is managing your money, you should make sure you understand what is going on there, and don’t be shy to ask questions.
There are two different personality types in our family: savers and spenders. Even though we already know who in the family is what, some are more obvious than others. One brother has a hole in his pocket, the minute he gets money from somewhere he spends it. Another brother never spends a penny. He literally saves birthday money from year to year. Our father says the most important thing is to recognize what type of personality we each are. If we recognize our strengths and weaknesses, we know what areas to work on, to improve them. At least that’s what we are meant to do!
Looking back we think that our familiarity with pretty much anything financial puts us in a really good place. Our siblings who are married are completely aware of the financial responsibilities involved in running a home and having a family.
We guess that everyone is exposed to the information around their parents’ careers – we’re just grateful that our father is a financial planner! But the truth is, even if now you aren’t familiar with the financial world, it’s really worth looking into while you are young. Apparently, it’s one of those things that the younger you start the more effective it is.