For the Kids: Modeling Behavior with Money
With Mother’s Day approaching, I want to take this moment to toast all of the mothers out there. I hope that you get lovely breakfasts-in-bed and gifts and kisses and all of the appreciation that you deserve. Being a mother is hard work. Trust me! I l know!
Amidst the celebration, however, I do want to take this moment to acknowledge that while we all work so hard to raise our daughters and sons to be responsible citizens, being accountable with money is a part of that. Sometimes money matters take a back seat to other life skills like being polite, or considerate of others, or work ethic. I think that the reason for this lack of focus on training our children to handle money could be because we feel ourselves to be inadequate teachers on the topic.
But, that’s on us. It’s our job to set the best example that we can with money so that our children learn how to manage themselves after the age of 18. If there is an area that we suspect we aren’t setting a good example with, then it’s our job to right that wrong. It’s never too late. Raising our children to be financially healthy is as important as it is to raise them to be physically healthy. You can start today.
Here’s what’s at stake. These are the messages that you’re potentially sending your daughters and sons when you don’t engage with healthy money habits.
If you live a quality of life you cannot afford by overusing credit, your children might see that and emulate it when they are adults. Their value of a dollar could be skewed for life.
If you don’t consciously put away money for a rainy day, your children likely will not either.
If you make excuses that you’re not good with money as a reason why you don’t engage with it, it might make an impression on your children. Even worse, they could conclude that being bad with money is a choice that they can make when they’re adults. (It is a choice, but not a healthy one!)
If you don’t participate in the process of paying bills, budgeting and having conversations about your investment/insurance portfolio, the take-away message may be that women don’t have to.
If you recognize some of your shortcomings in the list above, please know that you can start changing your approach today. You don’t have to be perfect, but instead, I recommend that you work to change your habits together with your children. Sure, set goals for your kids, but set goals for yourself too. Talk about it with your girls and boys and share in the journey. You can talk about how you’re working to get better with money and develop healthy habits together. So, for instance, instead of giving them everything they want when they ask for it, make them earn it – but demonstrate how you earn money for what you want, too. Your daughter can be saving for a new hover board while you’re saving for a spring outfit. Everyone can contribute to their goals until the reward has been earned. That “I did it!” moment is going to be a great day for both of you!
Teaching kids early on the value of money and hard work to accomplish goals are a good lesson for the rest of their lives. It build confidence, an appreciation for earning money and can promote a huge sense of accomplishment that will stay with your kids for decades to come.
Have a question about how to model healthy money habits for your kids? Ask it here! Let’s talk about what you can do to send a strong message about money to your kids.