One of the most valuable (pun intended) things you can teach your child is how to responsibly manage money. Of course parents teach by example from the day their kids are born, but there will also come a time when we need to begin teaching them certain principles that they will use for the rest of their lives. Listed below are several simple principles that will be a huge help for your child.
- Show them that everything we receive in this life is a gift that comes from God, and we must look to him for all of our needs. We teach them to be at peace in their heart and minds by helping them to understand submitting to his authority where money is concerned.
- A perfect first subject to teach would be the simple principle of tithing 10% first, saving 10% second, and living within the remaining 80%. As your children become more familiar with this concept, encourage them to increase the tithe and savings amounts as their self-discipline increases.
- Budgeting. Teach your child how to budget, and you will also be teaching them how to plan ahead. A valuable principle in every area of their lives, this will help them greatly. As Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” When your children start getting older, give them a chance to open their own checking accounts, budget their own money, and absolutely to make their own mistakes.
- A penny saved is a penny earned. Kids need to learn to save for three things: purchases, an emergency fund, and wealth-building. Saving for purchases is my favorite, and also the easiest! The other two are just as important though. For teens, $500 for the emergency fund might be a good start, as this will cover things like car repairs or any unexpected purchases. By having this emergency fund, they’ll learn to start being independent rather than relying on you whenever an emergency hits. It’s a win-win! And of course your kid doesn’t have to be a stock market guru, but if you can help them understand the power of compound interest, you’ll be setting them up with financial success for the rest of their lives.
- Give, give, & give again. One lesson that was pounded into my head as a child was “for heaven’s sake, can you just SHARE already?” While it may have been frustrating for my parents at the time, they really instilled the important value of giving into my life. Giving is so powerful because it not only changes the recipient, but the giver as well. This is one principle that is important for your children to see modeled by you. When your children see the positive consequences shine in your life, it’ll drive the lesson home.
- Be wary of debt. As a teenager, your child will soon face the temptations of credit cards and student loans. They’ll hear a lot of things as they head off to college like: “Normal is broke.” “Car payments are just a part of life.” “You can’t live without a credit score.” and my personal favorite “It’s not even possible to live without debt.” Absolutely NONE of these are true, and it’s best to help them understand this before they step out into adulthood.
Remember that more is caught than taught! It’ll stick in their heads better to see you living out these principles in your own life rather than just giving them lectures here and there. You don’t have to be perfect when it comes to money (no one is), but you do need to make sure you’re being a strong example or none of what you say will stick! Also, be honest with your kids about financial mistakes you’ve made. Allow them to learn from your mistakes! By teaching your children these essential financial principles, you’ll have given them confidence and a hand-up in life.
Don’t forget to check out our selection of toys and products that are great resources for teaching kids financial principles. We believe it’s never too early to teach youngsters about money, finance, and even investing. While play money may seem just like another toy, it can be used to teach kids about finances, saving, and math. In our minds, that’s a toy with some real value!