Bryson came up to me last week, a single penny sitting in the palm of his outstretched hand. “I found a quarter, Mom. I can buy a race car.” “That’s a penny, kid… and it won’t buy you anything.” He just turned four and he knows one thing: money buys toys. He has no idea how hard his daddy works for that money to buy his toys. He doesn’t know that his Pop has a savings account for him. He doesn’t know the difference between a penny a quarter.
We’ve got a ways to go. Thanks goodness he’s only four.
I didn’t know much about money either until Justin and I bought our first home. Since then, we have used credit cards, paid them off, used them again, sold a house, bought another house, and found Dave Ramsey. Our attitude toward money has changed a lot in less than 5 years. We’ve learned through trial and error and we’ve learned how to talk about money with one another.
When I think about what I want to teach our children about money, it’s simple and yet complicated. I want them to learn that if you want something, you work for it. I want them to know that cash is still king. I hope they’ll understand that as fun as it is to swipe a credit card and take home a new toy, the instant gratification isn’t worth the fact that you will still be paying on that toy when it’s old and dull. I hope they’ll learn to save for their wants and wait, because it’s worth it.
I also want to teach them to not only spend their money wisely, but to save for a rainy day. Building and maintaining an emergency fund is one of the smartest decisions Justin and I have made financially. We never fight about money and rarely stress over it, because we know that safety net is there if we need it. Even though we are a low-income family according to the world, we have more than enough and live comfortably because of the decisions we’ve made.
Above all else, I want my kids to know that money isn’t everything. It could all be gone in an instant- something my family learned from experience. I hope to teach both Bryson and Bella healthy financial habits, but I want them to also learn that life isn’t about money.
For now, we’ll work on teaching Bryson the difference between a penny and a quarter.
I have partnered with Genworth Financial to bring you this post. All thoughts and opinions remain my own, as always.