Have you ever wondered when you should start teaching your children about finances?
Many college kids today get themselves into so much financial trouble – student loans, credit card debt, car loan, etc, because they have never been taught how to be wise financial stewards. Those college graduates then come out with an average of $20,000 in student loans (if not more), about $3,000 in credit card debt, and an $8,000 to $10,000 car loan. That means they are going to start with an entry level paying job and more than $30,000 in debt! That’s certainly not a foundation many of us want.
Wouldn’t it be better to have our children entering the world as wise financial managers? How about no debt? Those sound like very worthy goals, but are they realistic? I think so!
Teach children at a young age about money
The key is to start teaching children from a young age about money. Money is something they will deal with every day. You know from a young age they learn to ask for items whether it’s gum at the grocery store or a new toy or a book. They are also extremely lead by what influences them…hence why so many commercials are targeted at children. But if you start teaching them from a young age, then you become their key center of influence versus the world!
How young is to young?
So how young is too young? I don’t think there is too young of an age. Use every opportunity as a teaching opportunity. While you don’t want to squelch the fun, you do want them to begin to understand that items cost money. Giving each child a certain amount of spending money or encouraging them to use birthday money for larger purchases is a good way to start. Involve them in your finances to. As you will hear me say often, my daddy having me help him write checks from the young age of seven (yes, I said seven years old), was a huge influence for me and my life.
No teens in money management
Biblically speaking, there are no teens. Yes, I know that is an unusual thought, but there were only children and adults. At the age of 12, a boy celebrates his Bar Mitzvah and becomes a man. At the age of 13, a girl celebrates her Bat Mitzvah and becomes a woman. From that point on, you are considered an adult in Jewish society. Why? Well, a quote sticks into my mind in answer to that, “a child’s moral framework is cemented into his mind by the age of 12.” What age did I just say…was it that number 12 again? Interesting how God has known that all along. We’ve just got to catch up with him!
So in answer to my question, there is no age too young to start teaching your children about finances. Now, let’s take that practical… What are some resources I can use to do that with?
Practical tools for teaching kids about money
Crown Financial Ministries offers excellent an children’s financial curriculum.
Involving children in your finances is another key activity. Ask them to help you balance the checkbook. It teaches them math as well as helps them understand items cost money.
Have a family “outing account” that the children help you manage. Each month you put the budgeted amount in there, then the children help you find out what various activities they desire to do as a family cost and what combination you can afford. I’ll tell you they will become super finders for all the free events in no time!
And finally, how about doing a Bible study on money together. There are way too many available to name, but even just reading the parables where the Messiah gave a financial illustration is a great way to start.
I’ve only begun listing ideas. I’m sure you can think of more. Just remember that now is the time to start teaching. Even if you have older children, there is no time like the present to begin.
What tips can you share for teaching children about money?