One of our major jobs as parents is to teach our kids about money. We teach them how to think about it, where it should come from, if it is good or bad or neutral, how to save it, and how to spend it. Often most of these are taught without us even thinking about it! More than that, much of what they learn comes from outside influences without forethought or our consent. I know I have several stray beliefs about money from my grandmother whose family struggled during the Great Depression, for example. How about you?
Here is the great news!!! Now that we’ve mentioned it, we can actively decide what we are going to teach our kids about how to handle money.
Here are 5 wonderful places to start.
Results leave clues. I am always looking for common habits that create the results I want in my life. Here are common attitudes of people who have a healthy and wealthy relationship with money. Some are great for all ages and a few are better suited for your teens, but it is never too late to start leading by example!
1. First, many people have a rule to not talk about money. It is a taboo subject. Even with their kids! Wealthy people and healthy money people talk about money without a ton of emotion to 3 to 5 close people often and openly. They share what works and what isn’t working and tap into the power of group knowledge and referrals.
Start talking to your kids about how much things cost. Give them an idea of what it costs to live. Teens really need to know the costs of driving a car (insurance, gas, repairs, payments, etc.) as well as things like utilities and groceries. Remember, your attitude is everything. Show them what you love about money.
2. People with a healthy and wealthy mindset don’t often focus on saving and cutting back. They don’t think in terms of limits. Instead, when there is something they want or need, they think about how they can earn more money. This is actually one of the biggest mindset differences between people with a good relationship with money and those who are stressed by it. Being open to creating more money is the key.
Here is a great activity to do with your kids to get their minds (and maybe yours too) thinking in this direction. Take some time to brainstorm 50 different ways to earn some money. It may take a little bit to get it rolling, but as soon as you do, tons of ideas will come pouring out! To start things off, suggest the classics: babysitting, yard work, lawn mowing, and lemonade stands.
3. Here is another great activity to get a healthy money mindset flowing. Every time one of you parts with money, send out a little blessing and/or a bit of gratitude and say, ”There is always more where that came from.” That frees up your kids, and you too, from the worry of the money going away and instead opens the mind to ideas and ways for more money to come back into your lives, as well as being grateful for what you do have to spend.
4. I bet that as you’re reading this, some of your family quotes have popped into your head. “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” “A penny saved is a penny earned.” “Money causes a lot of problems.” “Money is the root of all evil.”
Guess what. You didn’t put those sayings into your head and they are not likely doing you any good. So why say them in front of your kids? You get to choose what you want your kids to hear. Choose wisely! Here are a few suggestions, but feel free to Google positive money mindset phrases and choose ones you really want them to carry with them for the rest of their lives!
Try these: “I love money. Money loves me.” “I have more than enough money.” “I am sensible with money and manage it wisely.” “I allow my income to constantly expand and I always live in comfort and joy.”
You get to instill in them a way of thinking about money that allows them to be open to opportunity. Think about it. Don’t you always get more money even when things are tight? Focus on what will be coming in and not what is going out. It takes the same amount of energy but one fills life with a negative money mindset and the other opens the mind to potential and the future.
5. Have your kids track their money. People with a healthy money mindset are always aware and grateful for the money they are bringing in. It is a great habit to start early and will create a healthy relationship with money at an early age.
If you have teens in your home that are just starting their life-long money relationship, here are two classic money books that will start their journey off on the right foot: Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
When I first came across some of these ideas, I was surprised. How is changing my phrasing about money and stopping the search for coupons going to do anything but make things worse? Things did start to change for the better. My relationship with money changed and so did my children’s. I don’t often worry about money anymore. I also don’t just throw it around and waste it either. That isn’t what this is about. It is about opening up to the idea that money is a paper symbol of energy exchanged between people. No emotions. If you need more, create it. There are options and be open to the options. Kids start open to this idea so it should be easy to encourage. Experiment and see where it takes you. Your kids will thank you!