Life progresses in a linear fashion through time. We are born, cared for by our parents, receive an education, actively contribute to society, passively participate in society, and then our time here comes to an end. Every person both needs and wants things. financial independence or early retirement.

It’s hard enough for some adults to understand the standard cycle, much less financial independence or early retirement. How do you explain how life works to a 7 year old? How does one do so in a way that gets them to think about what their future holds while letting them keep their mind open? Hopefully the below helps, and gives you a base for future conversations to come.

Dear Ney Ney,

We need to talk a little bit about life before we talk about money because it is almost impossible to talk about money without talking about life. 

Life can be divided into three big parts: learning, working, and sharing. When we are young we are in the part of life that is dedicated to learning. While we are young our parents take care of us. After we learn enough we start to work and take care of ourselves. After we work for a long time we then start to share everything we learned working with others. 

When we work, we earn money. We use money to buy the things we need, like clothes and food. The more things and experiences we want in life, the more money we need to earn. How much money we earn from our work usually, but not always, depends on what we learned in school and how well we help other people solve their problems. 

When we work, we take some of the money we earn and wait to spend it until we are older and no longer work. When we are older and too tired to work, we still help others by sharing wisdom, or knowledge from our experiences in life.

The learn, then work, then share idea exists because the group of people that we live in, called society, generally all follow that idea, and following that idea benefits everyone in society.

Not all of society’s ideas are good for everyone to follow. For example, many people decide they want a nice car, but that often means they must work much more, so they have less time to share. For some people, that is okay. Other people only buy a nice car because they see other people buying one, and then they are unhappy they need to spend more time working. 

Once you are an adult only you can decide what is right for you. I will always try to help you make the best decision you can, but always remember that everyone else is choosing to do something is not a reason for you to make the same decision.

I love you.