Simon Says: Financial Wisdom From a 10 Year Old

by Joe Plemon on December 6, 2010

You have heard that wisdom sometimes comes out of the mouths of babes. Simon, my 10 year old grandson, is NOT a babe, but he has a knack for making observations that contain gems of wisdom. Here are some examples:


Simon says, “We don’t shop there. It is too expensive."

Lesson: The best way to fight temptation is to avoid it in the first place.

  • If you can’t afford a car right now, don’t swing by the lot “just to look" or check Craig’s list just to “see what’s out there".
  • If you know that $1,000 suit or $300 purse is not in your budget, don’t even walk close to the store that sells them. In Simon’s mind, that store is out of the question. We should think the same way.

Simon says, “Looks like Kroger is having some good sales this week."

Note: Simon said this one when he noticed the grocery ads blanketing our dining room table as my wife was strategizing a grocery expedition.

Lesson: Look for bargains.

  • If you know you are going to buy an item anyway, and you know that it will eventually go on sale, be patient and wait. Take advantage of web sites such as Slick Deals which will not only compare prices for you, but email you when an item goes on sale.
  • If the item is seldom discounted, make a cash offer. Many stores (especially furniture stores) will consider $900 cash for a $1200 item. You never know unless you ask.

Simon says, “We could get that cheaper at a yard sale."

Lesson: Know the market.

  • Don’t buy that new HD TV just because it is exactly what you need. Check around first. I have found the exact item on Amazon at a greatly reduced price from the big department store.
  • Don’t know how to yard sale? Give it a try. Yes, they have limitations, but some items, such as baby and child clothing are plentiful, in great condition and (as Simon says) much cheaper.

Simon says, “Silly bands could go out of style any time."

Note: If you don’t know what a silly band is, ask any 6-10 year old.

Lesson: Don’t follow the crowd.

  • Be your own person. Manage your money based on what is best for you and your family; not on the latest investment craze.

Simon says, “I don’t need any toys this year. I am too old for them."

Lesson: Act your age.

  • Guys: you really DON’T need that bass boat or four wheel drive or smartphone. I am not saying any of these are wrong; I am simply saying that they are toys. Learn from Simon. You may want them, but you don’t need them.
  • Gals: I realize that jewelry is not a toy, but you too can learn from Simon. Know the difference between a want and a need.

Simon says, “I am going to use the school’s baritone long enough to see if I am really serious about it before we consider buying one."

Lesson: Look before you leap.

  • Thinking about buying a camper or four wheeler or power tool? Rent one first to see if you really would be happy with owning one. That cheap rental could save you lots of regrets. This is a lesson I wish I would have practiced before we bought our Airstream.

Well, did you learn any lessons from this 10 year old? I am admittedly biased, but I know I have. I will also admit that I am a proud grandpa.

Readers: What words of wisdom do you hear from your children or grandchildren?

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