Armed with a pickle jar for the bills and a piggy bank from grandma and grandpa for the coins, a 4-year old girl (reminder — almost 5) in rural Virginia understands the value of money snabblån. Her strategy set is very simple and effective, and I have adopted several in my own pursuit of financial independence.
Our blossoming financial heroine understands that in order to see the wad of mildly pickle-scented fortune grow, she’s got to hold onto it using a variety of strategies. Here’s how she accomplishes this:
- Get somebody else to pay. Although she could pay her way for the things she wants, she will always opt to have somebody else pay. She accomplishes this by asking. This is a great idea, and one I’ve personally used in order to either defer some spending or get expenses either removed or reduced. Just ask.
So when our girl just asked me to pick up the bill for a personal item, I was inspired to ask my insurance company to charge me less. It worked. So, I tried it with everybody I send money to every month. At the end of an hour and a half of phone calls, I came away paying about $80 less per month. Hmmm… just ask. Brilliant.
- Negotiate like a little girl. At the conclusion of her chore duties, payment is expected and negotiated. Without fail, our monetary champion pushes her agenda. Why? Because who can say no to this type of logic:
Notice, she does not give me the opportunity at any negative response. After all, I did notice how fast she was separating the recycling, and I did think she was helpful.
Ultimately, we settled at $2 mostly because of the brilliance of asking TWO “yes” questions designed to highlight her actual performance. Brilliant. This also highlights her third strategy in wealth accumulation…
- Provide more (hugs) than expected. Without fail, she will provide something extra in every transaction — even if it’s just a hug. She doesn’t mind putting a bit of dramatic, personal flair into her work which I notice always seems to come out in her favor. She does not, however, always point it out — but merely lets it settle in at the conclusion of our deal.
This is one of the most effective business and personal growth strategies ever conceived, and she does it naturally which tells me that there must be a basic human sense of reciprocity and personal interaction. When you exceed expectations, you are creating an aura of cooperation and developing meaningful relationships where you stand out as somebody valuable who understands positive interaction.
However, be mindful of what is actually expected. The short answer is — everybody likes hugs from the right person in the right scenario. For example, I don’t think my boss would appreciate a hug from me at the conclusion of our weekly briefing, but might like a concise, written report of weekly minutes.
- Don’t worry about the details. Value is value, and our girl is willing to gloss over some details in order to get paid. So what if clearing the table took half an hour? It’s done, right? So what if gathering leaves took a turn through the swing set? Didn’t we all have a great time?
In other words, why are you worrying about “how” if “what” is what you should be concerned about. Plus, void of clear process requirements or deadlines, we should be free to accomplish our task without worrying about the details of how it is accomplished. Our girl is concerned with tweaking the task for maximum enjoyment, and therefore tends to create adventure wherever she goes. Since she’s 4 (almost 5), she gets away with this, but I’m not sure if your next client is going to enjoy watching your youtube videos of you at the water park instead of finishing your project.
The details matter, but if you’re on a diet of accomplishment and have good habits, these details will be worked into your overall strategy without sacrificing your life energy.
- Sell what you love At our town’s recent community yard sale, our girl took the initiative to fill a box of unwanted toys and books apparently earmarked for her commission. She carefully considered each item, placed it in the box and declared, “I don’t love this.” Item after item she let us know exactly what she loves and doesn’t love. The lesson here is that she only holds onto what she truly loves. Unfortunately, she did include several items belonging to her younger sister and her mother, but why worry about those details, right? At least she found items worthy of putting back into the market.
Little girls have the ultimate sales strategy: honesty and innocence. She can describe very simply why something is great yet why she no longer loves it. Because of this, you can trust everything she says. The implications of this sales strategy are obvious — the more transparent your offer is, the better you will do in the long run. I truly believe that the success comes at the cost of effort and honesty. It takes time, not flash and traps.
Conclusion There’s a lot you can learn from people at an any age by simply observing. Kids are just learning how to deal with confusing topics and often integrate their lessons in real time which provides constant feedback. Pay attention.
Teaching and nurturing a child’s financial development is a requirement for parents because financial literacy is a gaping hole in our education. These lessons do not have to be burdensome or complex, but kids should understand from early development that there is a monetary world that is influencing everything from what they wear to where they live. To ignore this is to disservice your child’s social development.