The goal of every parent is to provide a better life for their children and most parents interpret this ‘better life’ as giving their children quality education. In this concluding part of how to overcome 21st-century poverty, I will be showing you how ‘sacrificial children education’ and some other factors lead to poverty and a lifetime of financial struggles. I will also be showing you how to escape from these all too common traps.
The Sacrificial Children Education
While education is a great thing to aspire to, there is a misunderstanding of what exactly constitutes a better life and how a better life should be achieved. It’s almost as if parents say to themselves, “Let’s sacrifice our own financial security for our children during our active career life. And let them do the same for us during their active career years.”
In a nutshell, the parents’ life has to get worse to make children’s life better. And then children’s lives have to get worse to make their parents’ lives better. This is not love, it is financial ignorance. You often hear parents say that they will do everything within their power to give their children the best education. Their thinking is that the best education will lead to financial success and when that happens, the children will be financially buoyant enough to take care of them.
Thus, families go to the length of selling their properties, putting as much as 50-80% of their income on the line and forgoing their own retirement and financial security plans to educate their children. Unfortunately for many, despite their good intentions and hopes of a better life, this ‘better life’ is never achieved. Children return home to the same parents as dependants from the so-called best schools. They come back with no real skills, competence, or relationships that can launch their career. Worst of all, is that they can only function and produce income in a job.
That you went to the best school does not impress employers in the 21st century. Your best school must be backed with the best skills and the best attitude to catch an employer’s attention. Also, no matter what school you attended, you are financially handicapped without a job and this is a big disadvantage in a world where unemployment is rising.
To help children truly live a better life, you need to take a different approach. There are about six things children need to succeed in life. A school only gives them one of it. If you spend all your money on education and neglect the other five you have done your children a disservice. Below are the six things children need to thrive.
The first is education. Give them a good education that does not sacrifice your own financial security.
The second thing they need is high-income skills. As an employee, you do not own a job or a company. And do not have control over the job market. Thus, you must prepare your children for the possibility of life without a job. And you must equip them with skills to earn their own income.
Third, you need to show them how to build rich relationships. There are two major currencies that can transform any life. The first is money and the second is valuable relationships. You must show your children how to build the right relationships and also connect them with your own rich relationship network. If you do not have one, it’s time to build one now so that they can learn and benefit from you. Relationships are critical for financial success and without the ability to build them, a child will struggle through life.
Fourth, you need to connect them to mentors and coaches that can help them. And also teach them how to choose their own role models.
Fifth, you need to help them gain strategic exposure. Not just sightseeing, but deliberate exposure that expands their thinking, shapes their perspectives and view of life. The more deliberate exposure a child gets the more likely the child will find his path early in life.
Sixth teach them to value self-education and put them on that path early. This is because self-education after school is the real secret to financial success. Without self-education, there is no understanding. And without understanding, there can be no real results.
There is a seventh thing to do as well and it is to help them gain diverse experiences even when they have chosen a particular passion, career or path. Sometimes, children settle down for what is popular, trending, or comes naturally to them but allowing them to settle early may mean that they will go in the wrong direction for a long time. The truth is passion is a weak indicator of a person’s true direction in life. This is because you have many passions and your passion can change. The best indicator of one’s true direction in life is your purpose. You can only have one purpose and purpose rarely changes with time. Reflect on your own life and will see that your passion has changed over time. Allowing children to settle in their passion and giving them only experiences that has to do with that passion is depriving them of comparing different paths and really discovering their purpose. The more deliberate the experiences you give a child the higher their personal conviction, and the sooner they discover what truly matters to them.
Low ability to produce and multiply
The ability to produce is the ability to create value that produces income from seemingly little resources. Usually, resources are far smaller than the income they produce. And there are two kinds of production ability. The first is the “From scratch production” and the second is the “from value Production.”
A person who produces value from scratch has the ability to create, innovate and invent something out of nothing. Typical examples of this kind of people are employers and entrepreneurs. Employers have an enormous capacity to produce and multiply. This is why they are the richest people in the world. A person has the ability to produce value from value when they can add value to already existing value. Employees are a typical example here. They add value to products and services that have already been created and that’s why they earn a limited income.
Another good example of the from-scratch production ability is the great story in the bible called the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes. This story is about how Jesus converted something as small as five loaves of bread and two fishes into baskets of food that could feed 5,000 people. I know some people may say that was a miracle. But the truth is, this miracle still happens in our world today. Today, it is called the miracle of entrepreneurship. A guy wakes up one morning with an idea, puts together his savings, and brings that idea to life. Ten years later, he’s being hunted to sell that idea for billions of naira.
The more family members have the ability to produce income from scratch, the richer the family will become. The more the family is populated with employees the more poverty will increase long-term.
One of the factors that perpetuate poverty in most families is parasitic relationships. These are relationships in which there is only one-way giving and where parasites exploit providers. We are taught to practice, tolerate and accept them. We fund them with our financial freedom money and give financial handouts to people that we should give nothing to. We then go back home to murmur and complain.
Handing out financial aids to family members seems to be the only way we have been taught to help other people. No one seems to be interested in how we can help family members become independent and stand on their own two feet. In fact, such a topic is taboo in some families. We encourage the culture of one person carrying everyone else’s burden and people going into debt for family members. We fund people’s needs while they are busy funding their wants. To make matters worse, we love funding wealth-consuming activities such as burials, weddings, and naming ceremonies but don’t fund wealth-creating activities such as businesses or entrepreneurship. In fact, for these ones we expect them to serve us or give us their products and services for free.
If you must stop generational poverty in your family, you must put an end to parasitic relationships. We must talk about money and call out irresponsible behaviours gladly. We must set clear boundaries and strict guidelines, and we must refuse to accept avoidable responsibilities.
Low entrepreneurship spirit
If there is anything that will deliver a family from poverty, it is a successful business and the person who will run this business will not be like other family members. People that build successful businesses are not normal people. They do not do what normal people do otherwise they won’t be successful. Family members with entrepreneurial spirit must be left alone and given the allowance to build the business that will save the family from poverty.
A business is effective because it is the fastest way to circulate wealth in a family. It is the most powerful tool against generational poverty and it must be pursued with passion. However, a business must be successful to save a family. Starting a business alone will not do the magic. In fact, a business run badly can also increase family poverty. So, you must start and run your business the right way, get mentors and coaches to guide you, and model those with the results that you seek.
Entrepreneurship is a powerful force against poverty and should be encouraged in most families. However, my recommendation would be, begin with a job. There are two reasons why I say this. First, you need financial stability to build a successful business and a job can give that to you. Second, a job teaches you discipline and professionalism that you may not be able to enforce on your own. You are also able to build valuable relationships that you can use for business. Starting with a job gives you an unfair advantage that starting from scratch will not give you. It also helps you create a stronger brand story.
The idea of using up your 30 years job contract is a poverty idea. The wealth idea is to branch out into business at some point in your career. To do this successfully you need financial stability. Without this, entrepreneurship will be very hard for you.
The next step
Perhaps you are saying to yourself, this is a lot of work. How can I do all of these and who can help me? I can relate to that. It also took me a lot of work and time to distill this message to you. The key is to take one step at a time and to begin in the company and mentorship of the right people. The first place I will recommend you start from is to get your earning ability right. Without the ability to earn more income, multiple income and high income, nothing else matters. It is income that gives birth to everything else. To earn a high income, you need to develop high-income skills. To develop high-income skills, you need a practice platform. If you are looking for a platform to develop high-income skills, refine the skills, and use them to earn a high income, we can help you. To know if you qualify for our help send an email to [email protected]
There are two kinds of suffering: long-suffering and short suffering. The choice is yours.
About the author
Grace Agada is the most sought-after Financial Planning expert in the country and is quoted frequently in leading Newspapers, magazines, and blogs. Grace is a Renowned Keynote Speaker, Author, and Column Contributor in Punch Newspaper, This Day Newspaper, Vanguard newspaper, Business Day Newspaper, Leadership Newspaper, The Tribune Newspaper, and Online Platforms like Nairametrics, Proshare, and Bellanaija. Grace is the Founder of “The University of Wealth” The author of “The Financial Freedom MBA Program”, “The Better Life in Retirement Planning Blueprint” and “The Wealthy Business Blueprint”. Grace is on a mission to shrink the middle class and populate the upper class. She has been featured on BBC Africa. Business Day TV. Inspiration FM. and inside Naijatv. And she consults for Numerous Top Organizations, Company Directors, CEOs, Senior Executives, and High-Income Professionals.