Along with teaching our kids good money habits before they graduate, it’s important to instill a healthy view of money in our children’s minds. Money, if allowed to, can be a very emotional subject. People often use money as a means to buy happiness, acceptance or love, which can in turn lead to a lifestyle of accumulating debt. Here are some tips for raising your kids with a healthy view of money that will encourage them to avoid debt and live a lifestyle of good stewardship where their money is concerned.
Teach Kids that Money is Amoral
It’s important to teach kids that money is neither good or bad. It’s easy for people to fall into the trap of believing that money is bad if their financial life is unstable and that money is good if their financial life is prosperous. It’s important for kids to learn early that money is amoral and that it’s what we do with that money that can create either good or bad consequences. By ensuring that kids understand that what we do with our money (and not the actual money itself) can determine the good or bad effects money has on our life, we help to encourage them to think about the choices they make when they start to earn money.
Teach Kids That Money Can’t Buy Happiness or Acceptance
It’s important to teach kids that money (or the things that money buys) doesn’t buy happiness or acceptance. Sure, there are some people in the world that will accept or reject a person based on their money situation; however, true happiness and acceptance comes from within, not from external sources. Material items, although they may bring short-term “joy”, don’t produce happiness for the long-term. If we can help our kids to understand this truth, we can help them avoid the trap of buying things in order to obtain happiness or acceptance, and to focus on true self-value instead.
Teach Kids That Money Can Enhance Freedom, Security and Choices
Although money doesn’t buy happiness, it can enhance our freedom, our security and our choices. When we’re not held down to a specific job, home, location or lifestyle by loads of debt obligations, and when we have a plush savings account in place, we have more freedom to choose where we’ll work, live and play. It’s important to teach our kids that one of the main reasons for handling their money responsibly is so that they’ll have the freedom they want to make choices based on reasons other than whether or not they’ve got enough money.
Be Open About Your Family’s Finances
You don’t have to share everything about your family’s finances with your kids; however, the more open you are about the money situation in your family (within reason), the less taboo of a subject money will become for your kids and that will give them more confidence in how to handle their own money once they start earning it. Make sure to involved your children in at least some aspects of the family finances so that money doesn’t become a secretive subject to them. One way to start is to let them help you track your spending with Personal Capital.
Working to teach kids all that they need to know about the technical and emotional aspects of money will help instill in them a healthy view of money and will help to teach kids good money management habits.
Were your parents open about money when you were growing up? Did you have a healthy view of money as a child?