WT 031: How Do I Teach My Kids About Money?

Money doesn't grow on trees is sentiment we were always taught. However, sometimes parents forget to teach their kids this same lesson. They buy all their wants and needs, and forget to teach them the true value of money. In today's episode, Karen helps you start teaching your kids the true value of money.

Question 1: My husband and I made a lot of mistakes with money. I mean a lot. After years of working to get past our mistakes-- we are on the other side, but my two teenage sons were prime witnesses to the bad years. Everyone says that what children observe when they are young stays with them for life, so my biggest fear is that they make the same mistakes. Do you have any advice?

Karen's Answer: I love your honesty! I would venture to say that all children witness their parents making mistakes their whole life, so yours are no different.  You have a great opportunity to pull alongside your boys, share with them your mistakes and the journey you and your husband have had to take to get on the other side.  You can speak first hand on what “not to do”, but you can speak now on what works too.

After our move to Atlanta, losing money on our house in VA, and the growing needs of our large family, Greg and I found ourselves in a pickle.  Like this mom, we made mistakes, but finally saw the light and worked very hard to get on the other side.  We did sit our children down, shared with them our plan and got the whole family involved.  What that meant for the family was - we didn’t eat out as much, didn’t buy everything we wanted, and saved for the big items we wanted.

Have an honest conversation with the family and start working towards debt free living.

Question 2: What are your thoughts on allowance? Every mom I talk to seems to have a different opinion on what to do and they are also very passionate about their viewpoint being the only way.

Karen's Answer: I think every family should do what works for them.  There is no right or wrong answer here.  If you do decide to go with allowance, I do feel you should still have your child do simple chores around the house because they are in the family.  A child shouldn’t get paid to make up his bed or clean his own room, that is a given to living in a home.

We did both! Allowance was not my greatest thing. Half the time I’d forget, and end up owing my children a ton of money, which ended up irritating myself, so we stopped. Our children could always earn money around the house if they wanted, doing extra chores.

Talk with your husband and get a game plan, do it together

Question 3: What age did you open up a checking account for your kids? I’ve heard to wait until their first job, but I’ve also heard to start early with their birthday money. When your kids were still under your roof and had checking accounts, did you help them manage their money or let them learn from their mistakes?     

Karen's Answer: Short Answer: I personally would wait until your child is able to maintain the checking account, balancing it at the end of the month, etc.  You can more easily open a savings account for them, checking is really not needed.

We never opened a checking account for our children. In high school, they opened an account but it was not checking, more of a savings account.

Talk to your child and see if they even want one and why. Then make your decision.

Question 4: It’s incredibly important to me to teach my kids the importance of giving. I was thinking that tithing at church would be a good place to start, but I also don’t want my kids to think that tithing makes you a good person, or that God will only love you if you tithe. What’s a healthy way to teach them this concept? I have an 8, 11 and 13 year old. 

Karen's Answer:I for sure would not equate giving to God loving you.  We should take on the mindset that we give because God gives everything to us, and by us tithing we are merely acknowledging that fact.

We taught our children how to tithe, but went to the Bible and showed them where it says to give 10%.  It wasn’t a question of God loving them more, just an act of obedience, like going choosing not to lie or steal.  God says to do it, so we obey Him.

Look up scripture yourself and figure out in your own life what is your motivation in giving.  Tithing is a heart issue, and a trust issue.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

 9 ways to Teach Your Kids About Money by Dave Ramsey

Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze

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