How to Prepare Your Child for Financial Responsibility

If you would have asked me what it meant to be financially responsible even ten years ago, I would have thrown up my hands in discouragement. See, I grew up in a family in which the discussion of money was the white elephant in the room. It was always "an issue," but I never knew how much or how little we had. As a pre-teen, I thought my put-together cardboard furniture was totally cool, until I realized much later in life that it was a sign of financial strain — one that didn’t last very long for my family. By the time I was a teen, all signs of cardboard were replaced while we enjoyed the luxury of having an in-ground pool, remodeled kitchen, and professionally finished basement.

My father used to say to me, "Money doesn't grow on trees," but I thought he must have found the orchard at harvest time.

I had no appreciation for the dollar nor how to be a thrifty shopper. I was equally unprepared to manage a budget or make wise choices as a college graduate and newly married wife. If it wasn’t for my minimalist husband, generous relatives, and our combined fear of debt, I can’t imagine where we'd be today, financially speaking. That's why I've become incredibly passionate about teaching our children how money works and how to wisely use it, and I hope to give you some practical ideas for imparting financial responsibility in your tweens and teens as you prepare them for their futures.

Money management isn't some skill you get just because you become an adult at the magical age of 18.

Learning how to use money wisely is something we have the privilege of teaching our children — yes, privilege, because there is nothing like witnessing them grow and learn as a result the investment we make into their lives.

Simple Steps for Teaching Children Wise Money Management

Begin with Allowance (Elementary School)

As soon as your children are old enough to count and read, why not start with giving them an allowance?

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