As parents we are responsible for our children’s view, value, use and relationship with money. How we use our finances, whether or not we use a budget, if we maintain a balance on our monthly credit card statements, how liberally we share with others and our tithing practices are all acts of training our children in finances. Exercising financial restraint versus instant gratification is also valuable child rearing. Financial stewardship and how we recognize God’s ownership of our money speaks volumes to our children who are watching us make transactions on a daily basis. How we handle our money, it is said, is an outside indicator of an inside spiritual condition. Below are some ways in which we trained our children to handle and how to value money.
- First and foremost, gaining money is not the total goal, but rather being the best steward possible of what we do receive and/or earn is.
- Teach your children to tithe off of their income/gifts and also to share with those in need. Coupled with this is the realization that it is all God’s, 100%.
- Teach them to save for something they desire and not to borrow for it (delayed gratification). They will appreciate it a whole lot more and they will take better care of the item.
- Teach them to invest for the future. Our sons saved for their first car in which they paid cash.
- Teach your children the value of work and that they earn an allowance, it is not handed to them. Our children had an hour or so of “work time” every summer day and many Saturdays, along with daily chores. Our kids really learned to appreciate this work ethic in their first year of college.
- Teach your children a certain standard of work. It must be acceptable in order to earn their allowance or pay. Our children still talk about this around our table today.
- Be clear about your financial boundaries and do not give in to what every other parent is doing. Financial value boundaries will protect your children.
- Use a formula similar to the following: 10% tithe; 50% savings; 10% rainy day fund and 30% spending money.
- Older children can pay room and board (those who are working and out of school); be taught to use an ATM appropriately; learn to make and live by a budget; learn to write checks and use a credit card appropriately by paying off the monthly balance in full.
- Teach your children about investments, savings, ownership of a home, home maintenance, assets verses liabilities, car payments, proper vehicle maintenance and insurance costs.
- Here is a huge one, allow your children to fail and make mistakes financially while they live at home and then incorporate that mistake as a learning tool. Better now than when they no longer live with you.
- Teach your children the many Proverbs and scriptural principles found in the Bible that deal with money. For example: …”the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7
If you will do this, your children will return to thank you, earn their own way as responsible and productive adults and not look for ongoing entitlement, gifts and handouts from their parents and others.