3 Things Parents Should Stop Teaching Their Children About Finances

Parents teach their children some wonderful things. How to live, and how to love. But personal finance is one topic that lots of parents have been slacking on for too long.

When it comes to finances, sometimes parents say the wrong thing. Sometimes they say nothing – but children still hear messages coming through.

children teach money

So let’s put all that behind us and look directly at the 3 things that parents should stop teaching their children about finances.

Bad Lesson One: Don’t Talk About Money

It seems to be an unwritten rule that parents shouldn’t talk about money with their children.

While it’s true that children shouldn’t have to worry about money, it’s also true that the first time that a person encounters money should not be when they get their first paycheck when they’re in their mid-to-late teens.

By that point, it may be too late to stop some seriously negative habits from forming.

Talk about money in an age appropriate way with you children as soon as they seem capable of understanding what money is.

Children understand the concept of going to a store and leaving with something at a very young age – don’t let that opportunity go to waste, because it’s the perfect time to start talking about budgeting, getting things you want, and getting things you need.

Bad Lesson Two: Never Splurge

Trying to never splurge is like trying to never cheat on a diet. If you have in your mind that you can never-ever-ever-ever-ever have a bowl of ice cream again, and then you do one evening, what is likely to happen?

You are likely to throw your hands in the air, say that you failed, and go back for a second-pity-helping.

But if you acknowledge that there will be times when you want a reasonably sized bowl of ice cream, then it’s not the end of the world when it happens.

When it comes to budgeting, it seems that there is another unwritten rule that parents are supposed to encourage their children to save every-last-penny.

You don’t need to go to the movies! You don’t need to go on vacation!

Now, personal finance experts like Dave Ramsey recommend that you build ‘blow money’ into your budget. Blow money is money that you can blow on any sort of fun thing that you want.

This should be a small part of your budget, of course, but it should be there, so that when your buddies invite you to a concert or a movie, you can go for it without trashing your budget.

Bad Lesson Three: Don’t Spend Much Money on Clothes

Another unwritten rule of things to teach children is that people are wasteful if they spend too much money on their clothing.

There is, of course, a point at which spending crazy amounts of money on clothing probably isn’t healthy, but there’s also a point where being cheap when you buy your clothing can end up harming your overall success and happiness in life.

It doesn’t matter if you wear clothes that cost hundreds of dollars, but it does matter if what you’re wearing doesn’t flatter you, or if the fabric is so cheap that it will wear out after only wearing it a few times.

If you wear clothing that doesn’t look good on you, you probably won’t feel very good. That means that you probably won’t be a confident and happy as you could be.

Also, if you purchase clothes that are made out of cheat fabric, you’ll be back to the store spending your money on more clothes soon.

So prioritize purchasing clothes that flatter you and that will stand up to repeat wearing.

That being said, you don’t have to purchase hundreds of garments to have a complete, flattering, fully fleshed out wardrobe.There are many sites that can help you with that.

After taking these 3 tips out for a spin, tell me: how have improved financial communications, a blow fund, and an uncluttered wardrobe helped you?

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11 thoughts on “3 Things Parents Should Stop Teaching Their Children About Finances

  1. When talking to my kids, I always put the cookies on the lower shelves. I as much as possible explain things very clearly. Should there be a need of further clarification, I ask my kids until everything is well explained. I and my kids have open communication. I always welcome their questions and give the answers they deserve knowing.

  2. When I was growing up, personal finance wasn’t hidden in our family, but neither did my parents go out of their way to explain it. Sometimes, I think this is because they didn’t understand a lot about it themselves and therefore didn’t want to pass any incorrect advice onto me.

    However, I know many parents and children who do not speak about personal finance because they feel like it is a taboo subject within the family. In my opinion, this is crazy and detrimental to all involved.

  3. My wife falls into the last trap…she constantly says she doesn’t want to spend money on clothes because she wants to lose weight and then the money will be wasted. I keep telling her, buy nice clothes, feel good. If we have to buy new clothes because you lose weight, then we will. If you think you look good, you feel good!

    • Definitely! Weight and clothing can be a lifelong struggle for many women. I got a lot of help from Geneen Roth’s book “Women, Food, and God.” If she’s interested, that’s worth picking up from the library!

  4. Kathy says:

    When I was working I did spend quite a bit on my clothing. But since I retired, I’m usually in jeans and sweatshirts in the winter or shorts and tee shirts in the summer. I still buy good quality so I can wear items several years. And I do have the seldom worn but obligatory suit or dress in my closet that I’ll need for funerals or weddings.

  5. Our daughter is only two, but we’ve already started talk to her about money. Our daughter teaches a great lesson about not needing money to have fun (she’s wrapping herself in a measuring tape right now) but we still keep splurge money in our entertainment fund.

    The clothing one. I agree that you should feel good in your clothes and they should fit you properly. But I don’t think you need to spend a lot of money to reach those goals. I’d like to raise my daughter to have the self confidence to know that she has worth outside the brand on her shirt.

  6. Great points here! My parents never talked to me about money… school didn’t either and I ended up spending like crazy and becoming slightly endebted until I decided it was enough and started to build my financial security. I now have a net worth just shy from 100,000$, passive income of 130$ per month in addition to my salary and I’m saving at least 20-40% on every paychecks to achieve financial freedom while making fast payments on my mortgate to clear it as soon as possible. I still spend and blow money but I now do it responsibly.

    I would have loved to have been educated on that aspect sooner in my life. While it’s never too late, time is money!

    Thank you

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