There is no better time than now, today, to start teaching your children about money, saving, spending, credit, debt and giving. As we approach Christmas, a time of giving and receiving, you’ll have a perfect opportunity.
Take the financial lessons you have learned and use them as a teaching tool to those little ones in your life, either as a parent, a grandparent or a caretaker. Their future spouses, teachers and employers will love you for it. Author and financial teacher Larry Burkett once said that we are not responsible for our children’s decisions, but we are responsible for their training.
- It all begins and hinges on helping them to understand that God owns it all. We are to be the best stewards of everything He shares with us and because God is so generous, teach generosity. There is no greater blessing than to give.
- Teach the difference between self-discipline, delayed gratification, and immediate self-gratification.
- Give your children regular and meaningful responsibilities – jobs without pay, e.g., picking up their toys. Do not give an unearned, free ride allowance, but rather, give your children regular jobs with generous pay, e.g., mowing the lawn or folding the laundry.
- Teach your children to tithe from every dollar earned or given to them. It is all God’s, but discipline in regular giving grows a habit.
- Teach your children to save a percentage of their income for the future (30-50%), all the while designating a percentage of what can be spent immediately.
- Teach the difference between an asset and a liability – a consumable. Help them to understand the concept of investing and how that will help them beyond today into the future.
- Develop a budget with your child as soon as they can comprehend the idea. It will serve them the remainder of their life. Start a savings account (start with a piggy bank) and when age appropriate, obtain a money market account and an ATM card. Teach them how to responsibly use and balance them.
- Train them in the proper use of credit and how the borrower is servant to the lender. Borrowing for an asset vs. a liability. Share with them the difference between paying interest and growing interest on their money/investment.
- Share with your children your financial mistakes and how they can learn and benefit from them.
- As is appropriate, walk them through all other financial concepts like loans, taxes, utilities, owning a home, maintenance, buying a car, auto repairs, insurance, etc. Take the time to teach your children what God takes the time to teach you about money and His resources. They’re never too young to learn.
And here’s a bonus for you as a parent. Stop saying the words, “I can’t afford it.” Most times we can, we’re normally adjusting our priorities. So rather than this short answer, try explaining why making a certain purchase is not within your budget at this time.