Do you talk about money with your kids? My parents were awesome parents! And, they taught us a lot of really important life lessons – but, I didn’t learn my financial lessons from them! I decided I wanted my kids to be smart money people before they left home for college, so hopefully their financial lessons are a little easier than my own.
I learned most of my money lessons the “hard” way – by making mistakes! And while I know my kids will certainly make their fair share of money mistakes, we are intentional about giving them a good foundation to start from.
5 Lessons for Smart Money People
There’s a few things I think my kids should know to become smart money people before they fly off on their own:
- Money comes from work. We don’t “do” allowance. If you do your chores (work) you get paid, because that’s how the real world works!
- Don’t spend what you don’t have!! Debt is not something that should be looked at as “normal”, because it’s not!
- Budget your money. Tell your money where to go, there’s no reason for surprises!
- Saving is normal! Start early on savings – whether it’s for a big ticket item or emergency fund.
- Give! It’s so important to give back. You can choose where you want to give, but give!
How do we teach these things?
We try to model them.
We talk about what things cost. If we’re planning a family vacation, we talk about what the different options would cost and whether we’ve got the money for it or if we have to save for it.
We do a budget and try to stick to it. But I’ll admit, I stink at budgeting!! I’m great at making a budget, but not very good at sticking to it. But, it’s a work in progress and I’m trying to get it down. Again, we talk about what is or isn’t in the budget!
Talk about savings. For vacations and big ticket items – we save! Also, we have our emergency fund, fund for new cars and home improvements. We talk about all that in front of the kids so they know that is our normal.
We work hard to stay out of debt. Currently, our only debt is our home, and even that is only for three more years. We’ve worked hard to get here, and intend to stay debt-free. Because of our past and our path, we talk about why it’s important and how it’s happened (not by luck or chance!).
And, we give. Not just to our church, though that is one of our choices. There are a lot of worthy causes, but we pick and choose where our money goes.
In the end…
The book that’s made the biggest difference in how I view money is Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace! I am currently reading Smart Money, Smart Kids by Dave and his daughter Rachel Cruze. It has some great information on raising kids who become money smart people! I highly recommend either of these books if you are looking to get your financial house in order!
In the end, I want kids who grow up and understand the importance of work and how to live within their means! If we’ve accomplished that, I’ll consider us (and our kids) very successful!
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