Should Children Be Involved In Family Financial Discussions?

Excerpt Adapted From: The Financial Shepherd-
Why Dollars + Change = Sense by Glen Wright and Sy Pugh

Training and teaching children how to become Financial Shepherds starts before they know anything about money. It begins with the toys and the belongings that parents provide for them. As parents, we should teach our children to take care of the things that belong to others even better than their own things. Notice this change from the typical mindset of our society.

Since everything belongs to God, we teach our children “everything belongs to God”: the house, cars, money, everything! Since this is the case, we are to take care of God’s possessions better than our own. Children are more impressionable, so this will sink in sooner than you realize. In fact, my 5-year-old daughter finds joy in saying, “Daddy, this is God’s house.” If she understands that lesson at age 5, imagine how far ahead of the financial game she will be when she’s older and responsible for her own finances. The most important way to teach this principle to children is for parents to live it daily. When you change the way you think about finances, those that depend on you and follow your lead, will also have a changed mindset.    

Don’t be afraid to talk to your children even if you aren’t where you want to be financially. Make it a point to tell your children the truth (age-appropriate information that they can comprehend). Even if you are in a bad place, give them a basic sense of your family’s financial reality so they don’t live in fairy tale land and have unreasonable expectations. This level of honesty will prevent your children from making the same mistakes you made. On the flip side, if you are financially stable or well-to-do, inform your children of that as well. Focus on the fact that God has blessed your family with more resources so that they will demonstrate the principle of ‘blessed to be a blessing.’ The point is to be honest with your children and prepare them to be good stewards and future Financial Shepherds.