Children & Money

I’m like Kristen from the Bad Girl’s club. I’m an adult with a child’s mentality toward finances.

I blame it on my parents.

I read an article by the Washington Post about teaching children to manage money.  If you read the article some of the most important points was teaching a child how to closely manage their money early on so when they’re older and have to face the responsibility of paying bills, living on their own, and handling finances they can do so in a responsible manner. And starting “money management” with your child at an early age, really helps in paving the way for responsible money handling behaviors as an adult.

In my own home I never was taught how to manage money. Starting at age 16 I was handed a Macy’s Credit card and told I could shop whenever I wanted and they would pay the bills for me. I was given a ton of money each week to use for food, gas, etc. I was never required to pay my credit card, cell phone, or car insurance. My parents paid for it all.  Matter of fact other than entertainment, my parents pretty much allowed me to use as much money as I wanted when I wanted and they paid for it. This went on until my senior year of college at the age of 21. I was used to having rent paid by parents, clothing, food, etc. I would spend hundreds of dollars on food each week, thousands of dollars on clothes, and don’t even get me started on credit cards–to which my parents always and religiously paid for. There was never any financial responsibility instilled in me. If anything I was a spoiled daddy’s girl without a care in the world, and with a very shallow perspective on finances.

When my parents finally cut me off I was getting ready to graduate from college. And you know what happened to those credit cards they were paying–the ones that I had racked up on clothing, food, and entertainment? I was told that it was my time to pay the credit cards. I was then told I had to pay my own car insurance, and then finally I was told it was time for me to pay for my own place to stay and my car payments, and everything else.  At that point I nearly passed out. I was going to have to be an adult and actually pay bills?  And I was going to have to pay that much toward my pills? Oh God please help me.

Unfortunately at that point I had developed financial habits which were difficult to break. And so you can almost imagine how it’s been for me when it comes to budgeting and learning how to manage my  money. Apparently my parents habits were not so great either–hence what created a situation where I had no money-management skills. Obviously I had no one to learn from.

Question of the day: How many of you TEACH your child how to manage money?  How do you plan to prepare your child for financial responsibilities?

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One thought on “Children & Money

  1. I’m sorry for you that you didnt have those lessons early. I’m sure its more difficult to learn to manage money after seeing it as endless early on.
    For me, I would tell my daughters if there was something they wanted at the store, that “Mommy doesnt have the money” right now. For some that may sound terrible, or shameful, but it was our reality, most of the time. Even if I had money, but that money was to pay bills, I was still not lying. Bills = your responsibilities they come first. Play & Pay is not a priority. Play is, but there are still good old fashion ways to play & not pay.
    One of the most important lessons I think I taught my duaghters, was, when they were early & pre-teen, went to a department store to buy school clothes. I told them to only look at the racks with stars on top (Clearance). They picked out a few items each that they were very happy with. When at the check out, I told them, when they get home, I want them to add up the normal prices & compare that to the clearance prices & tell me how much we saved. They still have not forgot that lesson as in one trip, about 7 pieces of clothing we saved over $100.
    Communicate with your kids. Communicate reality even if its not popular. Reality will be the one to smack them in the face later on if all they learn is what’s popular. Hope that makes sense & good luck.

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