A few weeks ago, I took my girls shopping for some spring clothes. My youngest, a real
Fashionista, wanted a lot of items and I had to slow her down and tell her that mommy did not
have money to buy all of the things that she wanted. Her response to me was, “Why can’t you
just put it on your credit card?” That question brought back memories of me asking my mother to
“just write a check” when I wanted something she told me she didn’t have the money for.
This was a vast contrast with my oldest, who had her own money to shop with. Every time she
would see something she liked, she would check the price tag and check to see how much money
she had left. Unless she absolutely had to have it, the item stayed where it was.
Part of being a successful woman is equipping our children to be successful as well and this
shopping experience really hit home to me the need to make sure we are raising financially smart
Raising financially smart children in this day and age can be a real challenge. Their world is
filled with material desires and marketing from an early age…I-pods to hoover boards to
whatever the next technology item is and the list goes on and on. When we as parents make
financial mistakes like over extending ourselves, kids often don’t learn good financial habits that
teaches them about money.
So how can we as parents pass on smart financial lessons to our kids?
1. Walk the Walk
The most important thing you can do to raise financially smart children is to practice
smart finances yourself. You can’t expect to teach your children a lesson you do not
follow yourself. Spend less than you earn, get rid of debt, and build a savings and make
sure you talk to your children about why you’re doing these things.
2. Talk with Them about Money
Take every effort to talk with them (in an age appropriate way) about money. Explain
why you spend less than you earn and why you’re saving for retirement. Explain some of
the spending options you have and why that means you can’t afford a new computer or a
great vacation every year. Teach them about debt and how debt affects you long-term.
3. Give them opportunities to learn good financial habits for themselves
Teach your kids to start saving at a young age. In our house, we teach our children
whenever you get money, you must save 10% and that you give 10% for tithes. Our
children are required to put aside these amounts of every dollar they get before they can
start considering how they will spend the rest. Try opening a savings account at a local
bank and let them make their own deposits. If they save change, let them collect enough
that they can roll. Rolling spare change can be a great family time activity that is both
fun and educational.
Also, help them craft a budget and show them how to stick to it. Also, seek out financial
education opportunities so they can hear these same concepts from others. When my
oldest was 8, we signed her up for a financial ministry class at church. This 10 week
course taught her about handling money God’s way. She loved the class and it was a way
of reinforcing what we had already been teaching her.
4. Encourage them to be entrepreneurial
It is valuable for children to learn they need to work in order to have better things in life,
so it’s a good idea to encourage them to be entrepreneurial early. I have seen children
start businesses from babysitting or a lemonade stand to becoming an author and selling
their book or opening their own hair accessory line. Starting a business gives them the
opportunity to see that in order to earn money, you have to work hard. It also teaches
them about business basics which will be skills that will take them a long way in life.
Teaching financial lessons is one of the most important things we can do as parents to prepare
them for future success. Teaching them well will lay the foundation for financially successful
children who can fly on their own when they leave the nest. What better legacy could you