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Are You Giving Your Children A Money Complex?

Think back to your childhood. How was money discussed in your household? Was it positive, negative, indifferent? Were you often told, "No, we can't afford it." when you asked for things? How did that make you feel? Did it influence how you deal with money today? How do you talk to your children about money? Believe it or not, the majority of what you believe today in regards to money has to do with marketing, and how you were raised as a child. 

How we spend our money affects how our children spend theirs. If you're always talking about money in a negative light, then that's how your kids will see it. If your children see you spending money frivolously like it grows on trees, they'll grow up with that mentality. If they see you relying on credit cards and debt, guess what? There is a good chance they will as well.

It's our job to teach our kids about money; financial wisdom is one of the best things you can teach your kids. "But it's the education system's responsibility!" Not so fast! According to a 2015 MarketWatch article, only five states required high school students to take a personal-finance class. 

It's important to teach children the value of money at an early age. Lead by example, show them how to manage money wisely. They need to understand how and why we earn money and how we use that money to provide. 

Here are some of the ways you can get your children started on a healthy financial path.

  • Give your kids age-appropriate work. This kills two birds with one stone. One, it teaches them that work equals money. Two, they only get paid when they work, and they get paid a commission for that work, not an allowance. 
  • Teach them to budget their earnings. Teach them to give willingly, to spend wisley, and teach them to save a lot!
  • Get them in on the household budget. Share with them some of the household bills. If they see how much the light bill is, they might actually turn the lights off when they leave a room. This will give them insight on what life will be like for them when they're on their own.
  • Stop saying, "We're broke, we can't afford it!" Start saying, "It's not in the budget!" Saying that things aren't in the budget shows you have a plan for your money. You control your money. Your money doesn't control you. 
  • Break down costs. Next time your child asks for something, sit with them and figure out how much and how long it will take for them to save up for it to buy it with their money. This teaches them a very valuable trait called patience. Patience is your best friend when it comes to money. 
  • Teach them to stay away from credit, interest, and debt. It amazes me how many people suffer in their lives because of poor money choices, but then we do nothing to prevent that suffering in our children's lives. Debt is a choice, not a way of life.
  • Keep the communication open when it comes to your finances. Be on the lookout for teachable moments. Always offer encouragement and praise them for a job well done.

Doing these things will help your children learn how to be responsible with their finances. You can't rely on them learning about finances in school. It starts in the home with you. You set the example that they follow.