Start teaching money management to your children when they are young; it will help point them towards a life of serving God with their money.
No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:24
If there’s one thing I would have done differently when my kids were little, it’s this: I’d have done a better job of teaching them about money.
Money issues are behind many of our conflicts and most of our worries. The stranglehold that money problems can have on our lives is spiritually and emotionally debilitating. If you can teach your kids how to have a healthy view and management of their money, you will give them a tool that will go a long way to helping them to live productive lives.
Start now, while your kids are very small, and teach them to handle money with these 8 guidelines:
- Set an example of a proper perspective of money by having breathing room in your own finances. We’ve been doing a series in our church called Breathing Room and for the past two weeks the subject has been finances. One of our pastors reminded us that “standard of living does not equal quality of life.” Your life’s value and purpose are not equivalent to how much money is in your bank account, how big your house is, or how fancy a car you drive. You’ve got to believe that and live it out so your kids catch catch that same core value.
- Teach your kids to give. Once they start making a little money, teach your children about giving. They can pick a church, a charity or even someone they know who needs a little help. Eventually, they’ll see how giving affects the giver as well as the receiver.
- Teach them to save. Dave Ramsey suggests that when you are teaching small children to save, use a clear jar so they can see the money accumulate. Yesterday, they had a dollar bill and 2 quarters. Today, they have a dollar bill and 3 quarters!
- Teach your kids to spend wisely. This means not giving in to buying expensive brands just because of the name on the label. If you are going school shopping for clothes, give them a certain amount and tell them they may spend it how they wish. They’ll soon learn that getting more for your money is much more fun that blowing it all on that expensive pair of jeans or shoes. This is one thing I did right: my daughters, now 22 and 28, love finding bargains and will not pay for something if it’s too much.
- Give commissions, not allowances. This is an interesting concept endorsed by Dave Ramsey. He says: “Don’t just give your kids money for breathing. Pay them commissions based on chores they do around the house like taking out the trash, cleaning their room, or mowing the grass. This will help them understand that money is earned—it’s not just given to them.” If you choose to give allowances instead, don’t do it until they’ve done their chores. The main idea is that they understand that work results in payment, or reward. This also teaches the value of working.
- By the time your child is a teenager, it’s time to take money management to a new level by setting them up with a simple checking account. This will hopefully prepare them for managing a much heftier account balance when they get older.
- When your child is old enough, make finding a job a priority. Even if your child plays sports, as our three did, help him find some work he can do to make money. Our daughter used to catch for her coach’s pitching lessons to make gas money. Our son found odd jobs to work around his sports schedule, and our other daughter managed to work her schedule around a job at a yogurt shop. They didn’t make a ton because sports was pretty demanding, but they made enough to pay for gas and definitely enough to appreciate the value of earning, saving, and spending.
- Teach them the danger of credit cards. As soon as your child turns 18, she will get hounded by credit card salesmen—especially when she’s in college. If you haven’t taught her why debt is a bad idea, she become another credit card victim.
As I see all three of our 20-something kids struggle with “grown-up”bills and budgets, I’m glad for the financial foundation we did give them, even if we didn’t have Dave Ramsey around to help us! Teaching your kids to manage money well gives them a life value that will impact every area of their lives.
Do you feel stuck in a rut, and overwhelmed by the demands of parenting?
Not to mention wondering if you are doing the right things to help your children grow up to love and honor God?
Get my 30-Day Parenting Challenge and get ready for a parenting shot in the arm!
one important parenting truth each day
get-to-the-point, practical language
one purpose: to help you be a more effective–not to mention saner–parent