By Peg Imholte
Certified Love & Logic Facilitator
Family Education & Wellness Specialist
Resource Training & Solutions



Living within your means

How many times have you experienced people in financial trouble? This is not a good situation to be in. Parents often wonder how to teach their own children about finances so they can avoid money mistakes later in life.

Where can people learn how to be financially responsible? You might guess that an important time in life and an important place to learn about money is when people are young and at home with family. Families can start teaching their children financial principles like how to share, spend, and save money early on and, as they do, the odds are greater that kids will be more responsible with money as adults.

One financial teaching strategy is to expect that your children will divide their money into an account for sharing, for saving, and for spending. As children learn to divide their money this way, they will automatically learn how to delay gratification by waiting to buy a desired toy or something they want until they can afford to buy it themselves with their “for spending” portion. This system works well because parents do not have to do a lot of talking and make financial decisions for their children—kids are able to make their own decisions and they get to decide how to live within their means.

Parents often worry that kids will “waste” their money and buy something that isn’t of good value or something that may only last a short time. This is also a good lesson to learn early in life. Kids will think about making good and not so good choices as they purchase things themselves.

Remember that it is important for parents to be good role models for their children themselves. Children watch what their parents do and decide how to handle finances based on their parents’ own financial behavior.

Teaching kids early on about money has many benefits. One important note is that parents may reap the benefits of nurturing financially responsible kids as they come into their own retirement years—adult children will be independent and less likely to need help with money from parents.

Finally, when parents establish financial expectations for their kids, they are teaching goal setting and planning for the future—great tools and skills for life. This does sound like a great investment for families!