Thursday, January 14, 2010

How moms can help their kids be better with money

Q: I am a mother and my daughters think money grows on trees. As a father with two sons are you currently teaching them the value of dollar? and how are you teaching them?

A: I'm constantly teaching my sons lessons about the value of a dollar, mainly by forcing them to work at wages that would violate child labor standards in Taiwan.

Seriously though, my philosophy on money is that as with other habits, children emulated what they've been taught. If they're not taught, they emulate whatever they see. So if your daughters think money grows on trees, it may be time to re-evaluate what you're teaching them about the value of money.

Are you prone to shopping sprees? Do they get an allowance? If they run out of their own money, do you still buy them the things they want or do you make them save? Teaching kids delayed gratification is hugely important.

I use every opportunity to teach my boys about the value of money, hard work and the difference between income and wealth. As a parent you can use ANYTHING to instill those values. For example: My sons are both Monopoly and chess freaks because I decided early on to teach them Monopoly to learn cash flow management, negotiation and real estate investing and chess to teach them to think ahead and
strategize. My 13 year old could play circles around most adults in those games, and his business acumen is pretty high. He gets it.

There's other lessons: money they get for birthdays or holidays must be put in the bank. 15 percent of the oldest's allowance also gets stashed. If there's things they want, they have to earn it through their schoolwork or extra chores, or save for it out of their allowance.

Christmas gifts this year included shares of stock in the companies where they spend the most money:
GameStop, the video game store for my oldest, and Heelys, which makes roller-sneakers, for my 10-year-old. I did the same for all my kid cousins and they were so enthralled by the possibility of making money from the stock that they made me sit down and teach them the basics of the market. If you want to do the same, you can check out OneShare.

My boys also have brokerage accounts for their college savings and I have them look at what's in them and how they're performing when I log in.

Your children's money habits start with you. They'll emulate what you do with your money and they have no choice but to follow your rules regarding their own. Take the lead as a parent and they'll follow.

photo courtesy


Finance said...

HI Keith
I like the way you teach your kids about money. I am sure you are a great role model for them. My kids are very young, 5 & 6 years old. What I ended up doing is writing 20 children's books on finance. These books are different. They are written in story form, and kids as young as 5 years can understand those stories. You can check the series out if you want ("Finance for Kidz".)
Prakash Dheeriya, PhD
Father, Author & Professor of Finance
finance4kidz period com

Keith T. Reed said...

Hey, Prakash. Thanks for reading and I hope you'll continue to do so (and to share my posts on Twitter if you're on there!). I took a look at your books and they look great. Definitely the kind of things children need to have instilled in them from the earliest age. I'm a huge proponent of a financial literacy curriculum in schools, but ultimately it starts and ends in the home.