Experiences

My oldest daughter, thankfully, is not very “stuff-motivated.”

She’s much more in favor of experiences. She loves money, but mostly out of the sense of accomplishment she gets from earning it – she almost never spends any. She’s just thrilled to have it, like points in a game, representing a tangible manifestation of her effort. I strongly encourage this.

Any time she wants an item like a toy, I tell her she’s perfectly allowed to spend her own money on whatever she likes. But the idea of spending her own money usually puts a big damper on her desire for that moment’s impulse. As a result, she almost never spends.

She loves experiences. If she’s earned a reward for something due to some particular piece of good behavior, her requests are almost always a trip somewhere or the right to choose our dinner menu or permission to stay out later than usual, something like that. I love it. She’s an adventurer and explorer, and I’ll never discourage that.

There are definitely lessons to take there. My daughter’s savings rate is incredible. She’s very good with money; at 7 years old she makes change effortlessly, has amazing sales skills, and is a motivated hustler. Her friends want to play video games; she drags them outside to explore. (By the way, I’m not a vehement anti-video-game person or anything. I played plenty as a kid and turned out okay. But I’m happy that she doesn’t prefer them.)

At the same time, she has a full life with tons of experiences. Her legs are constantly covered in bruises and her fingernails are filled with dirt. She jumps at any chance to earn money and balks at foolish expenditures.

I think she’s going to do just fine in life. There are lessons to take from all this, but mostly I just wanted to brag about how awesome my kid is.

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