5 Ways To Teach Kids About Money Without Boring Them Or Yourself
I grew up on food stamps and welfare. I have no shame about it and learned very quickly at a young age the power of having and saving money.
School didn’t teach me a damn thing about money! My dad, experiences and books did that for me! Now I’m using what I learned from him and my own investments to help my kids learn about cash without making it boring.
There’s so many ways that a dad can teach his kids about money but these 5 things help me educate them without boring them to death!
Make Them Earn It From Young
I don’t like the idea of having my kids clean or help around the house for cash. I feel like it conveys the wrong message. I want them doing chores because it’s part of life not because they are going to get some money from me.
However I do respect that it works for many, it even worked for my dad.
I reward them for good grades in school, and so far it’s working for them. Bring me a couple of 3’s and 4’s you might get a dollar, bring me a grade I don’t like and you lose everything including the play station!
Very simple but very effective once you turn it into a habit. Key word HABIT!
Let Them Use The ATM, They Won’t Break It Or Your Bank Account
Since my son was the age of 7 he has been able to use an ATM machine. I made it a habit of taking him with me to the bank to make our monthly tenant deposits. I let him swipe the card, input the password, everything!!!
I didn’t do it to teach him about money, I actually did it because I thought it was cool to see a 7 year old using an ATM machine. It paid off with lessons I had no idea he would be willing to learn.
My son looks forward to putting money in the bank, it makes him feel grown. By doing this at least once a month, my son learned that the machine could do more than just give him money to spend and that was a huge lesson.
Letting him use the ATM also puts him in position to ask questions about money. Make it an experience, make it a habit, your kids will love you for it and they will learn from it.
Let Them Pay For Goods, Even If It’s Your Money
Another great way to teach your kids about money is having them pay for goods that you purchased.
The 1st time I saw this was with my wife. We were at a super market and I saw her give my then 7 year old her credit card to pay for our groceries. I looked at her like she was crazy but wanted to see what would happen.
The cashier told little man to swipe the card and offered to help him slide the card correctly. My son said no thank you, looked at the picture and slid the card correctly. He even signed my wife’s initials, I couldn’t believe it.
I didn’t get to use my dad’s credit card until I was 19 and here was my 7 year old telling me that for each transaction we were getting points on our card.
Now as he gets older, he sees cost a little different. If he thinks something costs way more than it did the last time he has no problem telling us that we shouldn’t get it.
Once again that wasn’t the plan. The plan was to have a 3rd set of hands at the super market to help us and keep him entertained. By having him pay for everything himself, the lessons could pour in without us having to force them on him.
Keep It Real With Them And Yourself
We all want to spoil our kids rotten!
What if you don’t have it like that? Do you hide it or speak on it?
I have absolutely no shame telling my kids our current financial status and neither should you. This is how we really educate them on money and spending. There are times when my son will tell me he wants new sneakers because his best friend got a new pair.
I had to shut him down and tell him, “I can get you sneakers every month but if I do that you won’t be able to do basketball, go to the movies with your friends nor do cool things like Chuck E Cheese and Disney.”
Letting him know that if we buy one thing we won’t be able to buy the other has been huge for us. It taught him how to identify what experiences or even gifts were important to him. What’s even crazier is that due to this thinking, he feels he is SPOILED. He gets to do the things he really wants to do without us having to go broke and has learned to take a no in stride.
Kids are smart, try to keep it as real as possible with them no matter your net worth. They are already spoiled by having a cool dad like you, that’s a big win itself, don’t you forget it!
You Are Their Main Example!
Your kids want to be like YOU, so if you are financially irresponsible chances are they will be the same.
You can still spoil yourself a bit, I know you work hard for that money, so enjoy it. However; that’s not an invitation to go for broke every chance you get. That’s not the lessons we want our kids learning.
Start small; make good choices while your kids are around you especially when shopping. Identify good deals on things you actually need. It doesn’t sound like much but always doing this will build good HABITS for your child and even yourself.
Think of all the things you wish your parents taught you about money and find ways to incorporate that into your family’s life.
My dad didn’t teach me about stocks or real estate. Now as I get older I wish I would have known what I know now much earlier in life. That’s why I have my son depositing our rent collection and even reviewing stocks with me.
I’m not a financial guru; chances are you’re not a guru either but that shouldn’t stop you from learning and passing those lessons to your kids.
Every father should remember one day his son will follow his example, not his advice!
So have fun with it because #FatherhoodIsLit
I would love to know how you teach your kids about money so I can expand on those lessons with my kids, hit up the comment section, or hit me up on Twitter!
Originally published at cool4dads.com on January 25, 2017.