The goal was to educate myself about money. The search was on! I stumbled across an investment and finance guru, Robert Kiyosaki. He preached the same concept I had been telling myself and my kids: “Money is a tool.” This powerful phrase sparked something in me that made me think deeper about money-related topics and how to educate my children in this area.
I immediately subscribed to Kiyosaki’s YouTube channel, started reading his books (Rich Dad Poor Dad being my favorite!), and I kept researching more about this topic. While I was learning more about money management, I also found myself inquiring about how to teach this same idea to my kids.
Although it can be a bit intimidating to talk about money with kids at first, I was able to find ways to break it down and make it more accessible for them. It has been amazing seeing their minds work through these ideas and watching the lightbulb go off in their heads!
The Video That Helped Me Figure Out How To Teach My Kids About Money
Adam Carroll’s TedTalkX—When money isn’t real: the $10,000 experiment—shifted the way I viewed this topic.
In this video, you’ll see how he helps his kids recognize that money is real via a $10,000 Monopoly game. That’s right. He gave his kids real money to deal with rather than fake money.
Why’d he do this? Well, Carroll noticed that his kids played endless games of Monopoly with fake money, and he wanted to see if their strategy changed if they had to deal with real cash. The winner also received $20 as a prize.
He said the game went much quicker with real cash! Carroll went on to say that this experiment exemplified that if kids are given relevant experience with money (along with guidance) when they’re young, they will likely have more financial prosperity as an adult. Cool, right? I never thought about it this way before!
Most kids’ likely view money as something not real, so they may find that it’s easier to be reckless with it, especially since we live in a cashless world. This entire concept definitely resonated with me and showed me that it’s super important to educate my kids about money.
Here’s the pattern I noticed with my family:
I’d always give cash for chores and let my kids save their Christmas money, but when they really wanted something, we’d bite the bullet and get it for them, without thinking too much about it!
We just wanted our kids to be happy and to have the world (I think most parents want this for their kids). And before educating myself more on teaching kids about money, I believed giving them everything was the right thing to do.
However, recognizing that we were giving to make them happy rather than teaching them a valuable lesson was a real eye-opener for us, and we took it very very seriously.
And you know what the scary part is in all that? These kids had no clue what things cost or what it meant when we commented on something being expensive. Money felt cashless to them!
Caroll’s talk definitely changed one (very important) aspect of our lives. After watching his Ted Talk, I continued to research this fascinating concept!
The Book That Enlightened My View on Money
During my hunt for more info, I found this amazing book: The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money. This book, written by Ron Lieber, highlights numerous values that you can teach your kids!
And I want to share with you the three points we’ve applied since watching Caroll’s speak and reading Lieber’s book one year ago:
Chores are free
Kids do their chores because they have to. They don’t get paid for it because they live in this house, and helping out with chores is a duty. This teaches them that being responsible is a must, and not something to be rewarded.
They must manage their money
I want my kids to learn how to save and spend their money responsibly, so I decided to give them a weekly allowance, and nothing more! To do this, I made the calculations, so that they can have enough to spend, save, and give to charity. After doing this, I’ve noticed that my spending on them has dipped, too!
Now, if they want something, but don’t have enough money saved up, they can’t get it until they’ve saved up enough. I find that this technique is helping them learn the concept of dealing with money.
But don’t worry! We provide all of the essentials (food, school clothing, etc). Thought I’d point that out just in case if you were wondering…
They love having the power to choose what to spend their money on, but they hate the responsibility at times. But that’s okay. My only advice? Stick to it, and don’t feel bad and cave in! Just remember that this technique may help set them up for future financial success.
Giving and generosity
With their money, they get the chance to choose which charity or who to give a percentage of their money to—it’s cool for them to know that what they give is coming from them and not us.
It gives them a sense of what it’s like to “do good!” And these values will stay with them when they become adults, and hopefully, the need to perform good deeds will only grow as they grow.
I will leave it at that!
But before I finish this article, I want to remind you that it took me a long time to figure out a system that works for my family. Our system went through a lot of trial and error. We took the time to figure out the right amount to give, what they can do with it, and even the best day to give out the allowance.
Teaching kids to value money and to be generous with what they have is an important topic.
Just know that it’s okay to not have it all figured out at once. Don’t be afraid to answer your kids’ questions and to feed their curiosity.
The best thing about this system is that we give them the chance to screw up on a small scale, hoping that they’ll know how to make better decisions when the stakes are higher, and the risk is real.
Have you implemented an allowance-giving system for your kids? If so, how did it go? Let’s talk in the comments!
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Until next time…