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“Learning is the beginning of wealth… Searching and learning is where the process all begins.”

~ Jim Rohn

A challenge that financially successful parents commonly face is passing on the value of money to their kids. This can look like an undercurrent of worry. Are my kids learning the lessons that have made us successful? It can also boil over into a struggle that causes stress in homes and marriages. It’s not easy to keep our kids from growing up with a warped sense of money in our hyper-materialistic world.

How do we help our kids develop a healthy relationship with money? Whether they’re eight years old or 38, here are a few practices we recommend as advisors and as parents.

Be Intentional (and Visible) with Your Norms

It’s not just social media – we establish financial norms for our kids daily. Is the Amazon truck a near-daily ritual? Do you get the sense your kids aren’t thinking about money when clicking “Buy Now”? Even if those purchases fit your family budget, it’s good to be aware of what our kids see as normal in our spending. Will their spending norms reflect your budget or theirs when they reach college and adulthood? That’s why letting your discipline be visible to your kids is helpful. Let them see you doing things like paying bills and reviewing the family budget. It facilitates an understanding that financial decisions are pre-meditated, not impulsive.

Give Them Growing Opportunities to Earn Money and Pay for Expenses

If you wanted to run a marathon, showing up without training wouldn’t be wise. In the same way, we want our kids to enter adulthood well-prepared for the responsibility that financial independence requires. As they mature under your roof, encourage them to pursue ways to earn an income. If they’re too young to find a job, encourage them to start small – cars still need washing! At each stage, establish a mixture of responsibilities and freedoms tied to that money. For example, a teenager who has to pay for gas money (or even their insurance) is more likely to understand that work ethic is closely related to freedom!

Let Them Participate in Charitable Giving

Is generosity a value you want to pass on to your kids? Let them participate. If you are comfortable, share with them about the organizations you support and why. Let them experience the impact generosity makes in our world. One specific idea – consider establishing a family Donor Advised Fund. These can be a great tool to facilitate conversations around values-driven generosity (while maximizing tax benefits).