Laughter. Uncontrolled. “The parents’ column wants you to write about teaching kids finances?” My wife’s question was punctuated by gasps for air. “Do they know you haven’t written a check in decades?”
When she regained her composure, I meekly asked, “Wife, would you help me write this article?” Thankfully, she agreed. Sharon’s tips are intended to start the conversation about the financial training of children.
Make use of teachable moments
“Can we go out to eat tonight?”
“No, Sweetie, we don’t have money in our budget for that.”
“Can’t we just go to the bank and get some more money?”
Use these teachable moments to talk about
- your spending priorities (“We can’t afford that right now, but we are saving for it”),
- getting the best deal (“Is the better buy at Amazon or Ebay?”),
- judging quality in what you buy (“This coat is less expensive but will that more expensive coat last longer?”), and
- resisting impulse buying (“Why do you suppose stores put candy and snacks next to the checkout?”).
Show your kids how you manage your finances.
“What are you doing, Mommy?” my daughter asked when she was in grade school.
“Paying bills, Honey. That check is for your school. This one pays for that new coat we bought you last month. But there are lots of bills I don’t have to write checks for. We pay for many of our bills with money that comes right out of our checking account. That’s how we pay to live in this house and how we pay for our car. But do you see that check over there? That’s the first one I write because I want to make sure there is always money for it. That’s our offering to Jesus.”
Explain to your children how you handle your finances.
- Walk them through your family budget sheet.
- Show them what happens when you scan your church’s QR code to make a donation.
- Let them sit with you as you electronically transfer money between your savings and checking accounts or set up automatic withdrawals. Of course, keep passwords secure.
- When they are in junior high, help them set up a joint checking and savings account with you. Monitor how they manage that responsibility.
- Talk about the percentage of income you give to your church and other charitable organizations. Emphasize how God’s grace prompts you to be as generous as possible.
- When money is tight, remind them that because Jesus is Savior, your Father will continue to care for you. Tell them family accounts of God’s providence.
James and Sharon Aderman raised three daughters and are now enjoying their eight grandchildren.