Family Matters: Teaching Youth to Manage Money

By Lucia Ferrara 

It is very important to teach your children about finances at an early age. It can be a very simple task of asking them to pick up rocks in the front yard and counting them and with every rock picked up they earn 10 cents. Those 10 cents add up quickly depending on how many rocks they find. However, the real lesson comes after you have paid them for their chore. What will they do with the money? Will they save it in a jar for something big? Will they run to the store to get candy? What they will do? They will do as you taught them. In this article, we will explore a few ideas about how to help your kids learn to manage their money.

“Teaching kids about money is part of being a good dad or mom,” writes Dave Ramsey on his website Ramsey Solutions. “Because if you don’t, somebody else will, and there’s a good chance that somebody else will have no idea what they’re talking about.”

Talking to your kids about money habits will take time and patience. They won’t learn the lessons overnight. It takes baby steps to achieve the main goal. The main goal here is to have your children be successful in their financial decisions and finally be independent from you as adults.

First things first. Teach your kids by example, Their eyes are on (and their ears as well!) Grocery shopping is a great way to start because they will observe you making choices and handling money. Even preschoolers can learn how to be frugal and choose products that taste good but cost a little less. And if they want a box of cookies, you teach them how to earn them, maybe by picking up their toys and putting them away before going to bed. Showing them how money works is very effective. Explain to them what money is and how we use it.

Showing them receipts from the grocery will let them know that Mom and Dad go to work to earn money, and then we use it to buy the family food so we do not go hungry!

Another concept that needs to be taught is how to save money. Not only do they need to learn how to spend money properly, they need to learn how to save it as well. This is tough for a lot of us, but it is essential. Saving teaches all of us about being prepared for emergencies, planning and setting a goal on how much money you might need to buy a bike, for example.

In addition, kids need to understand all these concepts as they are growing into adulthood. Encourage your children to save money but also how to earn it. It does not grow on trees nor is it given to you just because. I like to think of it as instilling in them smart financial behavior. Give them opportunities to earn money and make smart spending decisions, this includes showing them how their money can grow. Talk about investments and banking accounts.

Discuss what lessons they need to learn, for example, what it means to share, and how it feels to give while imparting the knowledge of empathy and generosity. You can do this as a family by having conversations about how to support your friends and family in need, your local community, charities, and tithing at church.

In closing, I believe learning money management is one of the most important skills you can give your children and their future.

All the articles in the Family Matters series are available here.

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[Lucia Ferrara is the Director of Hospitality at Precious Blood Renewal Center and the lead organizer here of Parent Cafes. Share your thoughts with Lucia or ask her questions by using the form below or sending an email to Read more about the Parent Café here.]

Photo 206571680 / Kids Piggy Banks © Prakitta Lapphatthranan |

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