As parents we know that we are our kid’s greatest role models.
Sooner or later we see them doing and saying exactly as we do.
This can feel like an overwhelming responsibility at first. But being a parent is an amazing journey of self-development. It is a great reason to be the best ‘you’ that you can possibly be.
If you have been reading my blog, are a member of my Money + Wellness community or a client you will know how much I love inspiring women and their families to have an empowered relationship with money.
So it is no surprise that I have started considering how I can support my own children; W (4yrs) and F (2yrs), to learn about money and the impact is can have on wellbeing early in their life.
Our approach is very simple. We involve them in our money conversations and decisions where possible.
At the beginning of the year I introduced the idea of them having their own (small) amount of money (which is an allocation of our family money plan/budget). At this early stage of their life all I want is to create an opportunity for them to experience delayed gratification and making money decisions first hand. It also introduces them to all of the small transactional elements that surrounds money management too, looking for the price on the shelf, taking the product to the cash register, keeping the receipt in case something goes wrong with it and keeping their purse in a safe place.
All with a sense of adventure of course! Money should neither be feared nor worshiped.
This is how our little fortnightly ritual goes…
They receive a small portion of our money plan (budget allocation) from our ‘kids’ category. This can be used to buy toys, treats, pay for activities or be used however they choose (the buskers outside our local IGA often get some of (W)’s allocation when they are playing a song he likes!)
My husband and I decided that they would get an equal amount despite being two years apart so there is always an equality between them and they grow up knowing that age or gender are not factors that influence how much you are allocated it is about capability.
We go to the bank together every fortnight and I use the ATM to get our cash out. I show them what I am doing. When I divide my cash between my money plan categories using my peaceful purse I also give them theirs and they put it in their purse.
I started off putting the money into old jars labelled ‘Choices Chests’ (like piggy banks) but I decided to replicate my own system to keep it simple, so they can do what I do.
The wonderful thing that starts to happen is that they ask lots of questions (some days I know you feel like you have reached your “why Mama?’ limit but in terms of their developing relationship with money this is a great thing; how do we get more money? Why does the bank give you money? Why did you decide to buy that? They start to make their own judgements about what brings them value and joy.
The most important thing that I have found is to not make any judgements (overly positive or negative) about their choices. It is so easy to do this and I still have to tame my tongue. Because one of the most important things I am trying to help them explore is making choices for themselves. I don’t want them to buy something because they think Mama will think this is a good choice. I want them to use their money in a way that brings joy to them. This is a real skill.
Being allocated part of our family budget to manage is also a privilege in our household. This privilege is given when they demonstrate that they can make good choices through-out the week with their behaviour, getting ready on time, helping clean up, not complaining at bed time.
If they don’t Mama and Daddy choose how that money is spent.
In addition to this we have separate bank accounts for them where dividends go and we add to this each week to. This is a kid’s future fund to help them pay for something in the future. If they want to save up for a car or holiday we can match what they save.
I plan to make a mini peaceful purse (girls) and mini peaceful pocket (boys) with spend, save and share zipped pouches so they can manage their cash just like I do.
I would love to hear how you involve your kids in money decisions and conversations. It is the best place to start in helping them develop a happy and harmonious relationship with money.
By simply talking about money with your kids you are passing on one of the most valuable money management lessons - that a harmonious relationship with money starts with feeling safe and empowered to talk about it!