Catholic money management and financial responsibility is an important part of practicing our faith on a day-to-day basis. When we know how to manage our money through earning, spending, and giving God’s way, we remove worry and bring God closer to our minds and our hearts.
In addition to managing their own finances, parents have the additional responsibility of teaching their children how to manage money God’s way. There are plenty of distractions and misleading information in the world that can pull children away from the path God has planned for them. Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “train the young in the way they should go; even when old, they will not swerve from it.” When children begin to understand what money is and what they can do with it, it is time to teach them how to manage money God’s way in preparation for the time when they are no longer living under Mom and Dad’s direction and guidance.
Allowances are a great way to help children become familiar with all forms of financial management. The amount you give them on a weekly or monthly basis is not the same in each family, but it should be enough to buy some things, but not everything they want. This allows them to spend money on things they want now or to save money for something they can’t afford just yet. As they do this, they will realize the value and importance of saving and managing what they spend.
One visual tool to help them manage their money is through the use of three jars, one for spending, one for giving, and one for saving. These are the main concepts of financial responsibility that are important for every adult to have, and this is a good way to introduce these concepts to children at an early age.
It is important to expect children to have chores around the house as members of the household. It is not a good idea to pay children for doing day to day chores – this sets up the expectation that they will be paid for everything they do, instead of teaching them that being part of a family has a level of responsibility. I am sure anyone with children can imagine a child shirking chores if they don’t need money that week. However, you can offer them the option to do more significant chores, or once a year chores such as raking leaves in exchange for payment. This will teach them the value of hard work and encourage them to expend effort for what they want instead of having it handed to them.
Let them make mistakes
Experience is the best teacher, and letting children make their own choices with their money and learn from their own successes and failures will leave a more lasting impression than simply being told that what they are doing is a mistake. Helping them learn from mistakes while they are young is especially important because the consequences of their mistakes will be less severe than when they are older. If they do not understand the consequences of their actions, you can gently question them to help them connect the dots between their actions and the result of their bad decisions. Better to let them make a bad decision on buying an expensive toy at 10 years old when the results are minimal rather than having them make a bad decision on a $300,000 mortgage at 25 years old.
Another way to tech children the value of money is to give them a set amount of money for a need such as clothing or their lunch. Once they have a set amount they can spend, give them a list of things they must have and let them spend the rest as they please. This way they can learn about finding good deals on clothing as well as learning about the real cost of clothing. For example, they could spend $50 on a designer pair of jeans, or spend $20 on a regular pair of jeans and have $30 leftover for other clothing items.
Our children rely on us to help them learn about the world around them, especially the world of finances, so teaching them the principles of Catholic money management now helps them later. If they are to be stewards of God’s money, it is our responsibility to show them the way. Remember, what they learn and take away from their experiences now will help guide them through the experiences they face as adults.
Until next week…we hope you all have a blessed week.