As much as we try to teach our kids the right things, we need to take a step back and see what we can learn from them. Because, in our kids, we often see what naturally transpires.
As adults, we’ve curbed things and learned different ways. Sometimes that’s better, but sometimes we’d be better off learning from the things our kids do naturally — how God designed us.
While I don’t take investing advice from my six-year-old yet, I do learn many life lessons from him about money, and from all of my kids. Here are some of the best lessons my kids have taught me…
1. Why So Serious? Money is Fun!
When did personal finance turn into a chore? We hate words like “budget,” and words like “investing” scare a lot of people. Seriously, why so serious?
Money isn’t that important (we’ll talk more about that in a moment), but the point is, money can be fun. Yes, even budgeting can be fun. Actually, I personally think budgeting makes money more fun, because you get to see all the areas where you can spend money.
In our budget, we have money set aside for things like learning (e.g. books, courses, etc.) and blow money (no, not that kind of blow), to spend on whatever we want. Having a “blow fund” is like having a cheat day on a diet. You get to spend the money on whatever you want, without feeling guilty.
Initially, kids think all money goes into the blow fund. They have to be taught to give and save, and later, to invest. However, as adults, we sometimes have to be reminded to blow money occasionally. Unless your problem is blowing too much money. In that case, just forget this point entirely, and move to #2.
2. Family is More Important Than Money
The more wealth I acquire, the less I care about money. No, I’m not saying that because I’m “so financially comfortable” that I don’t have to care about money, I’m saying that I could lose it all right now and everything would be fine.
First off, I know God is in control, and our needs will be met.
As Paul said to the Philippians:
“Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:16-19
That’s why Paul was able to rejoice in prison. Because he didn’t rely on money as much as he relied on the grace of God.
If you’re killing yourself by overworking yourself, take a step back and ask yourself why you really want to amass so much wealth. If you’re paying off debt, it’s not a bad idea to work like crazy until it’s paid off. That being said, it’s ok if it takes a little longer to pay off your debt than planned.
We can’t get our time back; spend it with your family. You can always go get more money if you need it, but why be so worried about it now that you never have time to actually see your family?
3. Personal Finance Takes Lifelong Learning
After writing daily on finances for the last seven years, pursing a degree in finance, and reading over 100 books on finance, I’m still learning. Every time I pick up a new book, I learn something new about money.
We’re all still learning. And it takes a lifetime to learn personal finance.
I’m a big fan of learning from other people’s mistakes, and I teach my kids this concept. We allow them to learn from the mistakes we’ve made, and even when we still make mistakes. However, your kids are still going to make mistakes of their own.
It takes a while for kids to grasp some financial concepts, as it takes a while for adults to grasp these concepts when they don’t learn about them until they’re in their 20s or 30s. Delayed gratification is the most common example here. How many adults do you know who still don’t grasp the concept of delayed gratification?
Most financial concepts are simple, but they aren’t easy. It takes time, and learning through years of action, and often through trial and error. It’s takes a lifetime of learning.
4. Giving Isn’t a Burden, It’s Exciting
I was teaching a finance class to a military group, spanning all branches. After my talk was over, a young Marine approached me with a few questions.
Mainly, since we were going over Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps, one step at a time, he wanted to know what all the steps were (speaking of delayed gratification). Jokes aside, I understood his excitement about the program, and his desire to know what he would be learning about next, so I laid them out.
When I got to Baby Step 7 (build wealth and give), he shut down as soon as I said “give.” He closed his notebook and said, I’ll worry about that when I get there. His thinking isn’t uncommon. It’s the thought that, “when I have a lot of money, maybe I’ll give some of it.” That’s not how giving works.
First off, if you ever want to have a lot of money, you need to be giving now, but that’s not the point. Giving is fun! Just watch your kids and you’ll see how fun it is.
Our kids love giving their money when we go to church. When they see a homeless person, they’re the first to say “can we buy them food?” They love doing things for other people. Most kids do. Somehow, it’s easy to lose this love of giving in our early adulthood.
Re-spark your love for giving. Look at the children. Look at the excitement they have when they give. Let’s get this excitement back. Giving is, and should be, a lot of fun.
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”Hebrews 13:16
Giving isn’t just pleasing to God. It’s pleasing to us.
Further Bible Reading
Further Book Reading
- Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze
- Junior’s Adventures: Storytime Book Set by Dave Ramsey
Over to You!
- What are some money lessons your kids have taught you?
- Can you relate to some of these points?