Lean Body Fat Wallet
Discover the Powerful Connection to Help You
Lose Weight, Dump Debt, and Save Money
By Danna Demetre and Ellie Kay
(Thomas Nelson – Dec. 10, 2013)
Part 1: Frugal Friday With Marsha--Lean Body Fat Wallet Chapter 10 Raising Fit and Frugal Kids Part 1
My (Ellie’s) kids are my calling cards—proof that it is possible to pass on healthy fiscal habits to our children. I am leery of financial experts who hand out parenting advice when they don’t have kids or are not married. Wouldn’t you rather get your advice from someone who has “been there, done that”? I would. That’s why I look at the bottom line of those who are giving advice—how are their kids doing? Granted, not all kids take their parents’ training to heart. As adults, they are free to make their own decisions, and we love them whether those decisions are good or bad. When it comes to money matters, we have always told our kids, “Our love for you is unconditional, but our money is conditional.”
This means that if we said, “You shouldn’t go to that college because it’s twenty thousand dollars per semester and you’ll owe too much in student loan debt” and then they did it anyway, we refused to cosign on the student loan. We continued to love that child as much as any of the others, but our money (or signature) was based on the premise that they make a good choice. We are not required to fund our kids’ bad financial choices.
I have seven children, and two of them are by marriage. I call them my “children in love” because when I married my gorgeous guy, he already had two gorgeous girls. Consequently, I wasn’t able to be the sole influence in their lives when it came to money matters. However, when it comes to the five kids who called me “Mom” 24/7, I have to accept responsibility for training them to become financially fit. Those kids are my calling cards because they are all set to graduate from college with no student loan debt, consumer debt, or car debt. They weren’t perfect in their choices, and I wasn’t a perfect parent. But overall, things fell in our favor because even if we failed in one area, we got back up and tried to do it right the next time. We learned that if we sowed enough good information into them, then there could be a healthy harvest out. Thankfully, it’s worked out that way in our young adult children.
Five Skills for Fiscal Success
I believe that children can grow up to be financially literate if parents model good habits as well as take time to teach and train them in the skills needed to realize fiscal success. The following five skills can be added at age-appropriate times in a child’s life and modified with higher expectations and more complete training as they master the basics.
SKILL #1: THE ALLOWANCE LESSON
Some parents believe it’s easier to give their kids money than it is to hassle with an allowance. I can see their point—administrating an allowance is hard work at times. But if we use an allowance as a teaching tool, then our kids can learn basic money management skills such as:
Budgets. Money has limits, and everyone needs to budget.
Discernment. There’s nothing like having a child spend his own money to learn how to spend wisely.
Saving. Kids will want to spend less and save for items they desire.
Giving. Kids quickly learn how wonderful it feels to share with someone else.
Values. Kids tend to take better care of items they buy themselves.
Delayed Gratification. It takes a long time to save money and a little time to spend it.
The administration of an allowance is determined by the parent’s guidance and the family budget. Here are some quick-start suggestions as you make allowance decisions:
Amount. This depends on the child’s age and the family budget. For example, when our kids were young, we had a lot of kids but not a lot of money. Consequently, we paid fifty cents per age year per pay period to be paid every other week (you could make it every week if you desired). For example, a six-year-old would get three dollars every other week or three dollars every week, depending on the family’s ability to pay. Our five children received allowance every other week because of our family size.
Consistency. Pay the same amount on the same day of the week or month. Just as you count on your paycheck, your children are counting on their allowances.
(pg. 180) Responsibility. Establish each child’s responsibilities. If they don’t fulfill them, pay someone else to do the work. For example, I once paid our daughter Bethany fifty cents from our son Daniel’s allowance to make his bed when he kept leaving the house without making it. He faced the penalty of losing part of his allowance and had the double whammy of watching his sister get his money. He never “forgot” again! This ties responsibility and allowance together.
SKILL #2: THE SAVING LESSON
Some kids are born savers (yours truly) and some are born spenders (my husband). No matter whether you are inclined to spend or save, parents can teach kids the secret of saving, which is a financial discipline that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.
Long-Term Savings Account Goals. Establish an account where money will not be removed to cover short-term goals. This may be an account for a car, mission trip, college, or other big item.
Family 401(k). Offer to match a quarter on the dollar for long-term savings.
Looney Tunes Accounts. Many banks have fun kid accounts for younger children that can be opened with as little as five dollars and offer freebies as incentives to save.
Short-Term Goals. Saving for a bike, doll, or video game also teaches delayed gratification.
Matching Funds. Consider matching funds for the short-term goals if it will take more than a year for your child to save for the desired item.
Stay tuned for part 3 including skills 3-5 next Friday!
Disclosure: These book excerpts were sent to me to share with my audience by Nelson books. I was not compensated for sharing these other that receiving a copy of the book for review. Posts do contain my affiliate links.