Apples Can Fall Far From the Tree

According to the Williams Group’s survey of 3,250 families, 70% of wealth transfers fail. The Chinese even have a proverb for this phenomenon: “From rice bowl to rice bowl in three generations”. In other words, wealth without appreciation and gratitude doesn’t last.

Here is a list of activities that can help teach your children and grandchildren financial stewardship

  1. Start them off with an allowance (Age 7+).

Many parents give an allowance but treat it as manna from heaven. Allow ances shouldn’t be an automatic gift without some labor on the child’s part. Children should learn that, as 2 Thessalonians 3:9-10 states: “If anyone is not willing to work, neither should he eat.” Giving them money haphazardly sends a mixed message that continues when they are adults looking to their parents as ATMS to magically put money in their hands.

Also, do not simply give them cash and wish them luck. Some will say they are only children – why should we care if they blow their money? They are only children. However, when would you like that to stop? When they’re 40 and broke? Of course not. Teach them to give the first 10% of their allowance to a worthwhile cause, like their local church or charity. The next 20% should go automatically into a physical piggy bank that they can watch accumulate. Lastly, encourage them to enjoy the 70% they worked so hard for. Tell them to enjoy it because they deserve it for their hard work. Instill that you are proud of them because of what they did and who they are.

2. Help them open their first bank account (Age 14+)

Many banks offer a free checking or savings accounts for children with low minimums to avoid fees. As the mail comes in with their new monthly statement, show them how to read it. Teach them to find enjoyment in watching it grow. Make it fun!

3. Encourage them to start a business (Age 9+)

Starting a business is one of the best financial educations a child can receive. Lemonade stands have planted the seeds for many great entrepreneurs. Brainstorm with your children and grandchildren about what they could make and sell for a profit. Tie the profits to a goal they would actually enjoy. Remember, children rarely lack capacity, they lack only teachers. Children can learn how to reinvest profits, take healthy risks and assume leadership.

4. Buy them a financial book they can read easily (Age 7+)

The reason I am in the financial industry today is because of a financial book I read as a teenager. Start them off with David Bach’s book the Latte Factor or Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki’s.

5. Don’t keep it a secret what you are personally giving (Age 12+)

Money woes and lack of financial discipline are rampant because the topic of money is frequently taboo in families. I’ve heard countless times that “I never learned how to manage money because my parents never talked about it”. Instead, discuss topics about money openly, starting with your giving intentions. Show them what organizations you actively donate to. Ask them to help you research charities for you via ChairtyNavigator.com, a website that shares the financial information and values of charities. This will teach them that money is a tool – not a destination – and a tool for change. An extra credit opportunity is to volunteer together at an organization so they can see how the funds are being prudently managed.

Comfort doesn’t build character. Let each one of us not leave a legacy measured in dollars but measured in our children and grandchildren’s financial maturity.

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