Thursday, February 3, 2011

Teaching Children About Money

I was reading this afternoon from Minding Your Own Business by Raymond and Dorothy Moore (one of my goals for the month of February is to reread this book). I didn't get far before I fell asleep (because I was awake with Michael last night who coughing nonstop) but here are some thoughts inspired by what I did read.

I was reading chapter 2 - How to Coach Young Financiers which comes largely from Larry Burkett's book - The Complete Financial Guide for Young Couples. In this chapter he talks about teaching children to handle money. One thing he strongly recommends is to have children earn money rather than simply being given an allowance. While there are some things children need to do as members of a family - like cleaning their rooms, picking up after themselves, etc. there are also chores children can be given to earn money. The idea is here is that although children do need spending money to learn how to handle money,  part of that learning comes through earning that money themselves.

In our case we have "hired" Austin and Amanda to help with the childcare business. Some of the things they do are light cleaning, kitchen work, and helping to constructively entertain the children. They are given a chance to have input into the types of things they do and consideration is given to their individual personalities, capabilities and likes and dislikes. It has worked well for them and for us. Their friends are envious of the money they have, but any friend who has spent much time with us knows they have earned that money. And they respect them for that.

They have benefited in several ways from this. One way is obviously the money in their pocket. They enjoy having spending money and deciding what to do with that money. They are learning the value of money and of work. They have learned that money "doesn't grow on trees" although Austin has often said he wishes it did.

But as I read today I realized (again, I've thought of this before but somehow never followed through) that are a few areas where we have some more learning to do. Those areas are Saving and Giving. So in the next week or so we're going to sit down and talk about these two areas and make some decisions together. I'm not sure exactly how this will turn out, because I will try to let Austin and Amanda have a lot of say in how we do this. But I do think it is very important for them to make some conscious decisions about saving and giving.

To me, saving is important for obvious reasons. A person who learns to save early on will be in a much better financial position later in life to do the things they want to do and to follow their dreams. Hopefully saving will become a lifelong habit.

I also want to them to realize that they are very blessed and that there are others who do not have the opportunities they do. I hope to see them develop compassion for those less for fortunate and to take an active role in helping others by giving. We are going to talk about some options for giving and about some different needs that I know of and see if any of them seem to be a good fit.

It will be interesting to see where this journey takes us. I would also be very interested in hearing from others how they teach children about money.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I've heard great things about Larry Burkett. It is something I need to look into for my children. Thanks for sharing.