Financial Education for your Kids
By Captain George Harrison
A Pilot’s Lockdown Story
The high income from being a pilot is the envy of many people. Many pilots and people in the aviation industry who had been working tirelessly for years and had been on a good pay package suddenly found themselves not only having more time on their hands but losing stable income streams in the last 18 months. COVID is probably a once-in-a-lifetime event, but it still rang an alarm bell for many.
I decided earlier on that I also needed some other income for a rainy day. I had known a dear friend who had been flying for years, maintained a glamorous lifestyle and made no provision for savings. He suddenly found himself being diagnosed with kidney stones. Not only was it devastating for finishing a professional career, but the family finances were also facing a huge challenge.
I enjoy flying and I would not swap it for anything else, but it is always nice to have some alternative in case something nasty happens. I started investing in some rental properties and put some spare cash in mutual funds and some blue-chip stocks which paid out dividends years ago. The snowball effect started to show in the last couple of years. The monthly income would not let me live like a king, but in the event of having no job, this income covers most of my family expenses. This has proven to be a godsend in the last year and a half. I did not realise how important this passive income was until COVID hit home. I wish I knew this earlier, because if I began investing when I was much younger, I think the snowball effect would have been bigger. I would be in an even better position than now, but you only know what you know.
I am hoping that my own children can start this process earlier regardless of what they want to do in life and what career dreams they want to follow. The financial education in my school years was non-existent. Has anything changed for my children? No. They learned the queens and kings and the rock formations, but they have no clues about credit cards, mortgages, inflation or pensions. These are not in their school curriculum. I could not rely on the schoolteachers to teach my children financial knowledge when most of the teachers probably have no clue about this themselves.
With the spare time I have now, I think it is important that I step up to the plate. Finding some material which could be used to teach my children proved to be difficult. I don’t have a financial background myself. Most of the books out there cater for adults. I struggle to understand some of the content myself, let alone telling the children.
Eventually, I found a couple of books on Amazon and read them with the children. One book really stood out – ‘Panda’s Financial Adventure’ written by S.King.
I was pleasantly surprised with the content. It was easy to read. The book was an adventure story with animal characters and each chapter explained a financial concept in detail with a story. My children now understand what mortgages and inflation are. They asked me to pay off a credit card bill quickly after they saw the bill arrive in the post. (For these of you who are environmentally conscious, I did switch it to paperless statements recently). I highly recommend this book. My children now want to learn more about these as they hear these words in the news all the time, so it is nice that they took an interest.
I think this will be a long journey for anyone who has no prior knowledge, but it needs to start from somewhere. I myself am learning some new concepts and I hope I will be able to share these with my children as well.
For me, and many others, COVID has prevented us from doing what we enjoyed. The spare time we suddenly found ourselves with should not go to waste. If the pause button was pressed, then it would be better to make the most of it. This is a rare opportunity to spend more time with my children and to share some interesting things with them. I might look back on these 18 months later through a different lens. These precious moments to see my own children growing up are priceless.