What I Want My Kids to Know About Money

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.

Almost 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.


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  • Teaching kids about money is tricky but something they need to learn for sure. We started using the Money Smart System where the kids earn money and they get to spend and save (and give). We thought it would help with behavior but it has helped with so much more and I hope they learn early and not later like we did!

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