How to teach your kids about: Getting rich quick!
I’m sure lots of you parents have opened this thinking “screw the kids, tell me how to get rich quick!’ - am I right?!
Unfortunately I don’t have any ways to help you or your kids to ‘get rich quick’. Nor does anyone else. The purpose of this blog is to help you teach your kids that there aren’t any ways to ‘get rich quick’. There might be people telling you there are ways to ‘get rich quick’ but they are telling you this so they get rich, not you!
Whilst I try to focus on the best ways for kids to manage their money, we also need to ensure that our kids are aware of the ways in which people lose money. One of those ways is by giving our money to scammers who claim they can help us get rich quick.
This lesson is likely to become even more important as our kids grow up as scammers get greater access to your kid’s data via apps and social media (and therefore know more about how to target them). In addition, we continue to move more into a world where people desire instant gratification. This means the desire for more money - now - increases. As our kids will want everything now, it is very appealing when someone comes along and says ‘I can make you rich quick’. We don’t want to put our kids at risk of falling for this line, even if they are smart.
Remember money is very emotional so sometimes the heart can rule the head and that means good judgement can be thrown out the window no matter how smart they are.
Background to the ‘Get Rich Quick’ Scam for your benefit
Whilst I wouldn’t recommend showing your young kids the video below, I would strongly recommend that you take the time to watch it. It’s a great video by Mike Winnet which shows you exactly how the ‘get rich quick’ scam works and the tricks scammers use to get your money.
In short, the scammers enrol you on a ‘free’ course to help you ‘get rich quick’. During the course they use different tactics to make you feel that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make lots of money if you then sign up for their extended course. They use fake testimonials. They use social pressure tactics to make you commit to buying. They use lots of wording which is a form of brainwashing throughout their course. All of this is done so that you buy an extended course and make them rich, not you!
Don’t underestimate the scammers and the subtle tricks they play. Just avoid these courses at all costs.
Here’s an example of how people underestimate scammers. I hear people say they got an email from a scammer and it had spelling mistakes all over the place - “How can they expect to scam anyone if they can’t spell?”. It’s actually a clever ploy by the scammers for that scam. They use the intentional spelling mistakes to filter out the smart people who they probably won’t be able to scam with their scam. It saves them time. It just leaves the less educated and more vulnerable who are more likely to reply to the email and those are the ones they can more easily scam. The scammers aren’t stupid and they are going to get better and smarter in the future!
How to teach your kids this lesson?
Introduce the evil villain Sam the Scammer!
I asked my daughters “What would you say if someone said they can help you make loads of money really quickly? - they shout “Sam the Scammer!”
Who is Sam the Scammer?
It’s just a made-up character to help my kids question things that sound too good to be true. I tell them that Sam the Scammer will pretend to be nice and offer something amazing to you for no apparent reason. Sam the Scammer does this to trick you and take something from you later.
I practice this from time to time to make sure they don’t forget. For example, the other day I said to them “For breakfast, would you like cereal or waffles with ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a nice can of Coke?”. They know that the latter is too good to be true and shout “Sam the Scammer”. If they don’t then I remind them of Sam the Scammer and make them eat the mini-box of Corn Flakes which no one ever eats when you get the variety packs of cereal. I know this is really cruel but I had to find something on par with losing lots of money when they are older :-)
In terms of money, I use the visual that to grow a forest you need to earn seeds (money) and grow trees (save / invest). If someone says there is a way of having more trees without earning the seeds (hard work and / or using your brain) and growing them over time (patience), then this is Sam the Scammer in action!
Sam the Scammer is offering you the promise of trees now as she is trying to build her own forest by trying to take your trees!
Questioning the word ‘free’
An important lesson to teach your kids is that there is always a reason something is ‘free’. Whilst you aren’t paying with money, the person offering something for ‘free’ wants something in return. The Superpower you need is to be able to question “why is it free?’.
In a lot of cases the answer is that people give things away for ‘free’ as they want your attention so that you buy something from them in the future. For example, a donut company giving out free samples of donuts so people fall in love with the donut and buy a big box of them, i.e. the ‘free’ donut is paid for by you as you are giving them your attention. This is not a case of Sam the Scammer as it is clear why they are giving away a sample for free.
You can then move on to other things which are ‘free’ but it’s not so clear why. For example, at the moment, there are lots of online companies giving their apps away for ‘free’. Why are they giving this away for ‘free’ after all the hard work of making it? What are they getting out of this? As you’ll know, they collect and sell your data. Selling people’s data is a multi-billion pound industry. So whilst they aren’t giving away their money, they are giving them data which the company making the app sells to make a profit. This should be explained to your kids so they understand that their data has a value and understand what information they are giving away (it’s not always clear).
Then there are the ‘get rich quick’ courses which are ‘free’. What are they getting out of giving this course away for ‘free’? At first it is not clear, therefore this is a case where everyone should shout ‘Sam the Scammer!’. Same for the recent trend of people offering to make you rich from Bitcoin or Forex trading - ‘Sam the Scammer!’
So when you see things for ‘free’, ask your kids why they think it is ‘free’?
One of the most effective ways to protect your kids’ future financial wellbeing is to help them avoid losing any money they do have. So make sure your kids don’t fall for these scams.
You might feel that your kids are smart enough not to fool for these tricks but the scammers are smart and, as mentioned above, they prey on emotions which can sometimes rule the head. Especially when they see videos of young people who have ‘apparently’ made loads of money with these short-cuts. The reality is that these people didn’t make loads of money (they just made a video to look like they did) or, they got lucky.
Don’t take the chance - start talking to your kids about money and ensure they don’t lose money to scammers. There are no short-cuts to wealth, you have to work hard, use your brain and be patient.
Sam the Scammer is just one of the Evil Villains in my free ebook 'How to train your kids to become Financial Superheroes'. Make sure you subscribe to learn about the others.
Thanks for reading!
Next: If you do want a more sure-fire way for your kids to become 'rich' then read these two blogs: