It’s your responsibility to teach finances to your kids.
I grew up as a pastor’s kid. Here’s what I learned about finances:
- Taxes made dad angry and mean
- Money problems made my parents yell at each other
- Being a pastor didn’t pay very well
- Dad emptied my passbook savings to pay our bills
- Grandma bought us what we wanted and needed
As I grew older, I learned that:
- Dad was secretive and controlling with finances
- We hadn’t given tithes and offerings in years
- We weren’t paying taxes the last few years before dad filed for bankruptcy
- Dad had opted out of Social Security and was not saving toward retirement
- The money was being spent on dad’s porn habit
I grew up with no real intentional education about biblical stewardship, saving, investing, paying bills, debt, or doing taxes. I did have one pretty awesome entrepreneurship experience selling homemade cupcakes to construction workers, but that’s probably a different post.
Now that I’m a pastor, I’ve learned that I could easily make the same mistakes. And for a long time, we were living beyond our means, I was neglecting tax planning, and I found myself resenting the pastoral call… “Why couldn’t God have called me to a job that made decent money?”
Once we became intentional about paying off our debts, understanding our taxes, having an emergency fund, and investing and saving for the future, I found that my attitude became better.
Not only have I become passionate about empowering other pastors toward financial wholeness, I’ve also become a little fanatical about teaching finances to my son.
Here’s what we’ve done. It may not be exactly what you would do. But I hope this list helps you to think about how you can be intentional and teach finances to your kids.
Allowance and Commission
Very early on, we decided to give Nathaniel money on a regular basis. We gave him an allowance for the express purpose of teaching him how to put the money regularly into his Giving, Saving, Spending Bank.
We did not pay Nathaniel commission. Commission is paying your child for the chores they do. This can be very useful for creating a work=money link in the brain. But it can also teach a child not to contribute to the household unless there is an economic benefit.
I don’t think we made a conscious decision NOT to pay for chores, we just didn’t do it.
At any rate, we paid an allowance and helped Nathaniel divide it into three parts: Giving, Saving, Spending.
Giving, Saving, Spending Bank
When Nathaniel was about 4 years old, we bought him “My Giving Bank” by Larry Burkett. This bank is divided into three separate compartments: 1. A Bank (for saving), 2. A Store (for spending), and 3. A Church (for giving).
We would give him $3 and help him put one in the bank, one in the store, and one in the church.
Every week when we went shopping, he would bring the money from the store and try to spend it.
Every week when we went to church, he would empty the money from the church and give it as offering.
And the money in the bank just sat there growing and growing, saving up for something at a later date.
When Nathaniel would get more money ($20 as a gift, for instance), we would help him put at least 10% into church, at least 10% into the bank, and the rest into the store. Sometimes he would want to put more in the church or the bank. And that was okay, as long as he had his reasons.
As he grew older, we increased his allowance and he would establish savings goals and learn to differentiate between tithes and offerings. But this was a great way to start things out.
The Moonjar Moneybox and Money Savvy Pig do the same thing.