ThreeJars Daily: 7 Mistakes To Avoid When Teaching Kids About Money

Money Management for Kids
What is ThreeJars How We Help Expert Advice About us
Fan Us Follow Us
7 Mistakes To Avoid When Teaching Kids About Money

Want to help your child become a real money whiz? Just sidestep these common pitfalls, from ThreeJars founder Anton Simunovic.

1. Telling little whites lies when your child asks for money.

I’ve read somewhere that the average child makes more than 100 requests of a parent a day! We parents want that whining to stop and so we’ll often deflect yet another purchase request by saying “I don’t have enough money on me” or “We can’t afford that.” It you’re lucky, you may get some temporary relief. But these little white lies don’t help in the long run. Direct, honest dialogue will get you better results. Try “I can afford that, but we’re not going to buy it. It’s not a good value at that price.” Explaining why you’re not making the purchase gets kids thinking about prioritizing their wants, and teaches them to be more aware shoppers in general.

2. Keeping quiet about money.

As a society, we’ve come to understand that staying silent on the topics of sex and drugs often leads to negative outcomes. The same is true for money. By starting the money dialogue early and having it often in an age-appropriate way, helps prepare our children for managing their own money wisely. Stay silent about it and you risk leaving your children open to the pitches of corporate marketers or pressure from spendthrift peers!

3. Giving bail-outs.

One of the fundamental lessons of learning how to manage money well is to appreciate that it’s limited. Our imaginations are always going to be bigger than our pocket books – no matter who you are. So it’s important we learn to budget—to live within our means. Getting good at budgeting takes practice, especially as children get older and budget requirements increase. When your kids stumble (as they most certainly will) and blow the budget, do not bail them out. If you do, you run the risk of creating a recurring pattern, and your child fails to learn that overspending has consequences.

4. Always looking over your child’s shoulder.

Being a parent isn’t easy. We want the best for our kids. Knowingly watching them make mistakes takes a great deal of parental self-control. But money “mistakes” learned early, when dollar amounts and consequences are small, are essential for mastering financial skills. Our kids are learning machines. They process and remember everything. So when your child wants to “waste” his or her own money on that silly trinket, let them. It will pay dividends later in life.

5. Dismissing “dream” purchases outright.

One of the hardest things for kids to do is delay gratification. They are wired to want everything now! So when your child comes to you and wants to buy that electric guitar, encourage it, even if you’re not a rock music fan. Kids who learn to work diligently toward dreams demonstrate a level of maturity, resolve, and moxie that will serve them well in life. Ask your child how they are progressing. Encourage them to think creatively about how they can reach their goal faster. And be sure to celebrate with gusto when your child gets there.

6. Failing to get on the same financial page with your spouse.

Our children are wonderful, manipulative little people. When they sniff disagreement between mom and dad, they’ll drive a truck into that wedge if it will benefit them. We can’t blame them really. Growing up isn’t the easiest thing in the world and kids want to know what their limits are. So when it comes to money – it’s vitally important for parents to be on the same page. How much allowance to pay? Will it be tied to chores or not? Can the kids buy whatever they want with their money? What about when a windfall comes from grandma?
You’re not sure what your answers will be? Begin the discussion by taking the ThreeJars Allowance quiz. After you and your spouse each finish, compare answers and go from there.

7. Waiting too long to start the money talk.

Many adults find the topic of money stressful and so they mistakenly believe they are doing their child a favor by shielding them from money talk. The truth is, your young child has absolutely no pre-conceived notions of money. They’ll look at money exactly for what it is: A medium of exchange used between two parties. Kids who learn to get comfortable and respect money early, are much more likely to be able to use money to achieve their dreams in life. So instead of shielding your child from money, expose them to it in positive ways, and money won’t be a stress in their lives.


Post a Comment