When it comes to educating our children, especially in regards to money practices, every parent knows there is no single handbook with all the answers.
Today, there are hundreds of tools and teachings with specific, creative ideas about what and how we should train our kids concerning money management. However, as believers, our ultimate guide is found in God’s Word—which boasts over 2,000 verses about money! Within this article, we’ve compiled both culturally popular and biblically based concepts into three-part answers to determine both what and how we should train our children when it comes to money.
To begin, what should we teach our children in regards to handling their money?
“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops.” –Proverbs 3:9
The first lesson we need to teach our children about money is that it belongs to God. God has blessed us with income through work, and He tells us in Scripture to give some back to Him. As you begin to teach your child, it is imperative you start by establishing a healthy respect for God’s role concerning finances.
Practice teaching your children to honor God with their money by tithing. Show your son how to set 10% of his money aside in his own piggy bank. Let your daughter personally place the dollars and coins in the offering basket. By doing so, you will teach them generosity, selflessness, humility, and more—all of which are vitally important for future financial and spiritual health.
“The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.” –Proverbs 21:20
Due to their lack of patience, saving can be an especially difficult lesson for kids to learn. However, it may also be impacted by a lack of understanding. Why would I put my money in a piggy bank, when I can buy a candy bar? Another stuffed animal? A trip to the arcade?
When it comes to saving, we must intentionally and repeatedly instruct our children not only how to save, but why. Show your kids the benefits by teaching them how to save for something specific—a video game or a dollhouse, for instance. Also, consider opening an investment account for them, so they can watch it grow. By explaining the purpose and process for saving, you can help your children begin attaining wisdom.
“Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom, when they are not able to understand it?” –Proverbs 17:16
As your children prove their ability to be wise with saving and investing, they also prove their ability to be wise with spending. To learn how to effectively manage money, they must begin by tithing, then setting aside money for a future goal, until finally they have earned the privilege of spending. When you teach your children to handle money in this order, you gradually give them greater responsibility with each step. The more they prove their ability to tithe and save their money, the more wisdom they will acquire and the more opportunity they will have to spend.
After you have learned what to teach your children about money, then it’s important to determine how best to teach them.
“The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him.” –Proverbs 11:1
Whether it’s due to embarrassment, a desire to protect our kids, or something else entirely, there is a common practice among modern parents to keep some personal financial information away from our children. While it may be wise to leave certain details undiscussed, a lack of honesty from us will produce an unhealthy perspective of money. The mystery of the unknown will make it all the more enticing.
Practice including your children in your personal financial decisions. Explain to them why you buy specific items. Talk to them about your bills and your money mistakes. As you share more and lead by example, they will learn power does not come from the mystery and might of money, but from our own stewardship of the resources God provides.
“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.” –Proverbs 23:12
A lack of application can also hinder a child’s ability to understand financial management. In fact, the majority of the concepts they learn will not be practiced until they’ve left your care. To make sure our kids are retaining valuable principles and practices regarding money, we must provide them with opportunities to exercise them.
One location your kids can use to implement these skills is the grocery or department store. Show them how to decide what they should and should not purchase as well as how much and how often they need to save to buy what they want. Practical actions such as these will help your children apply the instruction they have learned.
“Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.” –Proverbs 4:26
While the majority of America’s school systems now require some financial education, the issue is a lack of consistency. Children will listen, return home, and forget what they had just been taught.
If we’re to tackle this dilemma head on, we must make financial lessons a priority and a routine. Teach your children to maintain a budget, using our free Kid’s Bank. Ask them frequently how their budget looks. Have they been tithing consistently? What are they saving for? By asking these questions, you’ll encourage healthy financial skills for their future.