As I sit typing this, my son is vacuuming our upstairs, my eldest daughter is dusting, and my little is cleaning her room. I look like such a slave driver, but at the end of the day, my kids will reap the benefit of their hard work in cold hard cash. I’m teaching my kids to be wealthy.
When I was growing up, we didn’t have much money. My dad was a pastor, and my mom was a stay-at-home mom. For those of you who are unaware, pastors generally aren’t raking in the dough.
Every year, I was embarrassed to shop at the local food pantry with my parents and turn in my paperwork at school to apply for free lunch. But, my parents were able to give me a pretty good foundation in the value of hard work, saving, and being generous. Fortunately, these principles still apply with building wealth and passing the legacy onto your kids.
How to teach your kids to be wealthy
Teach them the value of hard work.
I remember one time as a little girl, I took my mom’s checkbook out of her purse and wrote myself a check for $100. In the 1980’s era, $100 was a lot of money, especially to an elementary-aged kid! I also wrote it in pencil. No bueno. My older brother found the check, and I’m pretty sure I got in the worst trouble trouble ever.
Obviously, I thought money came from checks. If I wrote a check, the bank would magically hand over a crisp $100 bill. Not so much.
As my kids have grown, I’ve also heard them say a time or two, “just go to the bank.” Sorry kids. Mom is not your ATM. Money comes from working (gasp!)
At our house, my kids have a weekly chore rotation. Everyone is responsible for cleaning up after dinner, picking up their stuff before bed, and cleaning their rooms. Our weekly household chores (vacuuming, dusting, etc) are divided up so everyone is responsible for one chore each week. On Saturday, they get paid. No work=No pay.
Yes, my 8-year-old cleans the bathrooms sometimes. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Sometimes, it’s downright horrible. But, my kids are learning they get paid for a job well done. They’re also learning slacking doesn’t pay.
Teach them to have a plan.
Kids, like adults, should have a plan for their money (AKA a budget). A kid’s budget doesn’t have to be complex. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Their budget should also reflect their age. The older my kids get, the more responsibilities they have. The same is true with their money.
For example, my 15-year-old will be driving next year (Jesus take the wheel). She’s thinking about purchasing a car, gas money, and insurance money. There are about 15 million birthday parties, sleepovers, and hanging out with friends, concerts, etc. My 13-year-old is only concerned about video games, while my 8-year-old is concerned with the latest fashion accessories.
We also live by the envelope system. They each have an envelope for giving, saving, and spending. That’s their budget. Each pay day, they are required to put $1 in giving, $1 in saving, and they can do whatever they want with the rest.
When my oldest starts driving this year, we will likely open a bank account for her so she can use a debit card to pay for gas and other purchases. Her budget will become a little more complex with the give, save, spend model and will also include things like reconciling her bank account each week.
Teach them to live within their means.
What I quickly learned when I wrote that check in pencil is money is not infinite. I can’t just write a check to buy whatever I want. It has to come from somewhere.
In the Bible, we hear, “the borrower is slave to the lender.” Your children won’t be able to build wealth if they’re being crushed by the weight of debt. Teach them the power of the word, “no,” and teach them patience when they can’t afford something.Proverbs 22:7 (NLT) Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender. Click To Tweet
Teach them to save.
Part of being patient is learning how to save. Teach them to save an emergency fund when they are teens and save for large purchases, such as a new video game or a new toy. Build up excitement for whatever they’re saving for, like posting a picture of a new car or toy on the refrigerator.
Teach them to be generous.
When you open your hands to give, you are also able to receive. A clenched hand can’t receive as much as one that’s open and generous. If you are a Christian, start with tithing to your church. There are a plethora of charities to donate too as well. Get your kids invested by picking a charity or organization that is personal to them.
Live by example.
Finally, know your kids are watching you. They are little sponges soaking up everything they see and hear you do. If you are a saver, they will be more likely to save. If you are generous and faithful to tithe every month, you children will see that and remember when they’re older. They will also watch when you swipe your credit card to pay for dinner or your next big vacation. When you are smart with money, you will teach your kids to become wealthy when they are adults.
Train a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it.
Need some other great ideas about teaching your kids about money? Check out Smart Money Smart Kidsby Dave Ramsey and Rachael Cruz!