How the world can help teach your child about money
Hali Brown London is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (CFP®) Professional. She is also a Mom to three children and will share what she’s learned about teaching children about money and finances from time to time. We hope you find her tips and insights useful.
I wanted to teach our three children all about money. After all, I’m a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®). Who would be better?
It turned out that the world was a much better teacher than I was.
Money from Mom and Dad is abstract. Whether it’s an allowance or tied to doing chores, and I’m neutral on that topic, money from a parent doesn’t have a lot of meaning for kids. Yes, you can teach kids to save up for bigger things, but they aren’t really “learning” about money management.
But once they start working, money takes on a whole new meaning. When they get to the point of thinking, “I’d have to work for 14 hours to buy those sneakers,” the game changes.
When our kids started working, they discovered two things:
- They had complete control over their own money
- They had a much deeper understanding of the value (not just the cost) of things they wanted to spend money on
Without my saying a word, they started making smarter choices about money. They started deciding against spending their money on some things once they realized how much they’d have to work to earn that amount.
All I had to do was keep quiet and let them discover how money works by themselves.
Our youngest, who hasn’t been working that long, has three times as much in their savings account than our oldest. We have one champion saver, one who likes to spend, and one who’s in the middle. (I’ll leave it up to you to decide which one is most like me.)
I’ve kept my mouth shut when I’ve seen them about to make financial mistakes. It wasn’t easy. I’ve let them come to certain financial lessons over time that I could have taught them in 10 minutes.
I’ve learned some things, too, about each one of them and how they learn and grow. They’ve given me insights into themselves that I probably would have never had if I’d insisted on teaching them all about money myself.
So we’ve all learned something.