RAISING YOUR CHILDREN
Teach your children financial responsibility.
Teach your children financial responsibility.

Do you give your children money for doing chores? You absolutely should.

I have heard many mothers say they should not have to pay their children for doing things around the house they should be doing anyway. That may be true, but you are missing out on a huge opportunity here to teach your children a life skill that will affect their future happiness.

Who doesn’t want their children to become happy adults? According to ChristianCourier.com, 85% of divorced couples said financial problems added to the deterioration of the marriage. Let’s face it. Most children will eventually marry and make financial decisions which will affect that marriage. Money management is an essential skill for any adult. Single people also benefit from being financially responsible. They will face the same challenges and pitfalls others do. Therefore, it is imperative we prepare our children for the future financial decisions they will face as adults, whether single or married. Much emphasis is put on preparing children for college and career paths. Yet, there is another quite powerful element of childrearing which many neglect: financial responsibility. In times past, things were simple. Earn money. Save money. Buy the things you need and some of the things you want. Today things are a bit more complicated with loans, credit cards and investments. Western culture loves debt. It encourages debt. This poses a few sticky questions.

Where does it end?

What is acceptable and what is not?

How do we teach our children to manage money wisely?

Where can we look for sound advice?

Whether you’re a Christian or not, the Bible is a good reference tool for financial advice. It has been around for thousands of years and has proven helpful in guiding generations of readers. Let’s look at what the Bible says about money.

First Timothy 6:10 says the love of money can be dangerous. We should intentionally teach our children that money is merely a “means to an end.” Incessantly wanting what money can buy leads to unhappiness in the end. We must teach our children to be content with what they have. Contentment breeds happiness. Rest assured; they will look to us in this area. We are the example, and, as the saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.” Here are some ideas from ChristianCourier.com for equipping your children for future financial success. Everything included reflects real-life practices.

Earn

Over the years, parents will buy a ton of things for their children, right? Try this. Only buy what they need, like food, clothes and hygiene items. Make them earn money to buy anything extra. By doing this, they will learn self-discipline, budgeting and how to save up for big-ticket items. Plus, they will not ask you to buy them things in the store, like candy and toys (Hooray!). You are hurting your children
if you give them an allowance with no strings attached. Instead, give them money for doing chores. Requiring children to work hard for their money gives them a sense of appreciation for the things they purchase. Second Thessalonians 3:10 says, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” (ESV). It is apparent God values a good work ethic.

Give

Sacrificial giving will teach your children discipline and obedience. According to Leviticus 27:30, “A tenth of the land's produce, whether grain from the ground or fruit from the trees, is God's. It is holy to God” (The Message). God instructs believers to give back 10% to the local church in the form of a tithe. Model this your- self. Let your children see you give your tithe check. Many families also choose to give to charities, like the Red Cross or Compassion International. Encourage this and take opportunities to give as a family. Operation Christmas Child is a charity which allows families to pack shoeboxes with needful items that are given to children in poor countries, along with the Gospel message (John 3:16).

Save

Financial Consultant Charles Schwab says the biggest error people tend to make in saving for retirement is they don’t. Require your children to save at least 10% of their earnings. Put it away in an old sock, a piggy bank or a youth bank account. Around age 10 is a good time to start a savings account for them. Watching their money accumulate will motivate them to save even more. The Bible points us to the faithful habits of ants in Proverbs 6:6-8. “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest” (ESV). She willingly works hard and has a plan to provide for her family.

Spend

Teach your children to spend judiciously. Make well-informed purchases yourself. Check reviews, compare prices and buy used when feasible. Weigh whether you really need it and how it will benefit you. Include your children in these decisions. Proverbs 31:16 tells of a virtuous woman who spends her money wisely with her family’s future in mind. “She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard” (ESV). God wants us to use common sense while enjoying our earnings. My husband and I have taught our children it is best not to have credit cards. They are more trouble than they’re worth. Young adults should practice restraint in spending. Credit cards make excessive spending too much of a temptation.

Mentoring your children to be financially responsible will pay off in dividends [pun intended], both for you and them. If you do it right, they shouldn’t be sleeping on your couch at age 30. They will be financially responsible adults. Making them earn spend- ing money as children is an effective way to instill prudent habits that will last a lifetime. If they make mistakes, the consequences will be on a much smaller scale than if they made them as adults. Let them practice handling money now. Guide them but allow them to fail so they can learn from it. What age is appropriate to begin paying them for chores? Personally, I have found that children can benefit from doing chores as early as two or three. I don’t recommend giving chore money until they can count the money themselves.

When my children could identify each coin and its value, I began giving them about 50 cents a week for small chores, like picking up toys and getting dressed in the morning. As they grow, I increase the responsibility and chore money. They are now ages eight, nine and 10. They earn $5 a week for helping me with anything I ask for around the house, like picking up the floor, cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming. However, lately, we have had issues with integrity. After I call for a cleanup time, I inspect. For every item they leave undone, I deduct a part of their chore money for the week, not to be gotten back. This exercise requires them to be honest and thorough in their cleaning efforts. It calls for them to do their best work — a skill lacking in many adults today.

Parents who take the easy way out have a smooth experience now. But they will regret their product in the end. So, go make a chore chart and mentor your children. Do the hard thing. You should not count on the school or anyone else to do it. You have the single most influence on your children. So, go make an impact. They’re counting on you!

Contact Cheyenne Belew at thechronicle@hillcom.net.