We pride ourselves on being able to give our kids whatever they want as proof of our love and ability to provide for our family. This seems innocent and what every parent should strive for – right?
The intent is certainly understandable, but the outcome can be a mixed bag. I’ve been a Certified Financial Planner for more than 20 years and many times I have sat down with distressed parents who inadvertently created entitled kids. Their kids left home ill-prepared to manage their finances because they were simply used to being handed everything and expect Mom and Dad to continue to do so indefinitely.
It’s very easy to look from the outside and say they should let their adult kids fend for themselves, and eventually they will need to cut the financial cord. At the same, it also much harder to watch your kids struggle and do nothing.
This is why I advocate so strongly for parents to talk to their kids about money when they are small, so when they leave home, they have the firsthand experience and confidence to make good decisions with their money.
3 Money Lessons to Avoid Creating Entitled Kids
Teaching kids about money does not rob them of their childhood. It helps prepare them to succeed as adults. Here are three important money lessons every child should learn.
Set Save, Spend and Share Goals
Goals act as our best defense against mindless spending and playing “keep up”. My girls have set individual save, spend and share goals every year since they were six years old. Every time they earn or receive money, they immediately allocate it to their goals. They have learned to slow down when they discover a new toy and decide whether it is more important than their goals. More often than not, they decide it’s not worth delaying goal achievement and walk away without feeling deprived.
Success Tip: Make sure the first share goal is something tangible, so they can experience how good it feels to share. My daughters LOVE to share because it makes them feel so good to help others. Often times, the first goal they exceed is their share goal, and they choose to share more than 10% of the money they receive.
Money is Earned, Not Given
Allowance is always a hot topic among parents, and I am not a fan of a traditional allowance where money is just given for no reason. My girls earn money through a weekly job chart I post. They can choose which jobs to take, so they can earn as little or as much as they want. If they do a poor job, they may get paid a reduced amount or not at all. On the flip side, they can earn the occasional bonus for doing an exceptional job.
My girls really love this system because they control how much they earn. Mom loves it because now they ask me for more ways to earn money when they find something they want, instead of begging me to buy it for them.
Let Them Make Money Mistakes Now
One of the hardest things to do as a parent is watch your child struggle and make a mistake, but I would rather they make a small mistake now than an expensive one as an adult. It’s important for kids to experience the consequences of their money mistakes and learn how to recover from them too. Now they will have the skills and confidence to be nimble on their feet when mistakes happen as adults.
These money lessons help minimize the chances of creating entitled kids who depend on you instead of themselves as adults. Now you have truly given your kids the tools to create a better lives for themselves. And that is real parental love.
Making Money Conversations Fun and Easy
Financial literacy is my passion, and it is easy for me to talk to my girls about money, but I know it’s a struggle for some parents. One easy and fun way to help you start these important conversations and shape how your kids think about money is through my children’s picture books. I’m pleased to offer Making Sense of Cents readers an exclusive coupon code TOUR3114 for $3.00 off my new book, The Lemonade Stand. Join Lauren and Taylor in their continuing money adventures as they teach their friends, Ryan and Christopher, how easy it is to save, spend and share.
About the Author: Shannon Ryan is a Certified Financial Planner and a Mom on a mission to help busy parents teach their children simple, value-based principles that guide their money decisions and support their long-term financial well-being.