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Kids and Money: Teach Them to Be Wise


Do you currently have kids of your own? Or, do you plan on having kids in the future? If you want them to make wise financial decisions when they’re older, I suggest that you continue reading.

What do you picture when you think of children today? For me, I think of video games, lack of exercise, and obesity…. I do not think of financial wisdom. But, just like anything else, kids must be taught the value of making wise financial decisions! And, who better to teach them than their parents! 🙂

My Story

When I was a boy, my dad had two jobs. His main job started at 5:30am and lasted until 3:30pm – he worked this job from Monday-Friday. For 26 years of his life, he also worked in the evenings (and Saturday) at his own car dealership. There wasn’t always a lot of time to play catch with my dad or go on fishing trips (although these did happen occasionally), but he did one thing extremely well, and I believe that it helped shape me into the financially wise man that I’ve become.

In order to gain a profit as a car dealership, it’s imperative that the dealer purchase cars for as little as possible and then have the ability to sell them for the highest possible gain (but in line with the market of course). My dad did this quite well, but rather than instruct me in all of his methods, he instead asked my opinion of different decisions he was about to make. He involved me in the process.

My dad knew that I often looked through car magazines like Auto Trader or Michigan Auto and RV, so he would ask me if I saw any good deals. Because of his interest in my opinion, I was always excited to share a few “good buys” with him. I distinctly remember walking up to him with many dog-eared pages of “good buys”. He would then take this magazine and follow up on my finds.

It sure made me feel great, and it also allowed me to learn a lot about buying and selling products (in this case, it was cars, but the lessons can be applied to anything)! I learned a great deal, just by being involved in the process.

Apply This Method to Your Children As Well

Kids tend not to learn so great when you’re shouting something in their face. Instead, teach your kids about personal finance through real-life events that are happening in your life.

For example, let’s say that your car is no longer reliable and it’s time to replace it. Include your child in on the car buying process. Ask them their opinion of buying a new car, a leased car, or buying something used.

Perhaps you’re looking for something that’s less than $8,000, but is less than 5 years old and gets great gas mileage. Ask your kids if they would like to help you research. I bet they would jump at the opportunity to help!

Ultimately, you have the final decision of course, but I bet your child’s research will be a valuable asset to your car purchase! They’ll love the fact that you value their opinion, and they’ll learn a ton in the process about spending money wisely.

Do you remember your parents teaching you anything this way? Do you think you’ll teach your children with this method someday?



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. That sounds like a great teacher that you had for a dad. My parents provided me with my first car so that I could start gaining responsibility and get my first part-time job while in high school. As I reflect now, it did more than I would have admitted to back then. I certainly think there are things they could have improved on, but they did teach me a lot.

    • My dad is a great teacher! I didn’t realize it back then, but he definitely taught me a lot!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this story. It is a wonderful illustration of how to build a relationship with your child no matter what the subject! I’ll be linking to this on my new blog.

    • No problem! Thanks for linking to the post, and good luck on your new blog. I’m sure it’s amazing! 🙂

  3. Hands on learning is so important for kids. Heck, even I learn better when I have an example. That is how the human brain learns, by making associations and applying them to new experiences. But it is very pronounced in children who do not yet have the brain full of associations yet, they are still learning them.

    • Very true FSYA! Hands on teaching is the best way. Glad you enjoyed the article! 🙂

  4. What they call this is a “teachable moment”. As parents, teachable moments come up all the time. The only questions is do you take advantage of it? I remember talking to my children asking them things and following up with why. As I learned about their interests, I tried to expose them to more and more of what expressed an interest in. I also took them along to the office and introduced them to what I did and the people I worked with. They could ask questions and learned by doing some of the things in the office.

    • This certainly would be a teachable moment! Sounds like you did a great job with this! 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing.

    My children are still very young. But, I try to peek their interest by doing the family finances in the room that they are in. That way they at least get used to the normalcy and regularity of the responsibility. I also get the occasional “what you doing daddy?” In which case, I get to do some explaining.

    • Haha! Sounds like you’re doing a great job making them aware of the family finances! Keep it up!

  6. As a parent I’m finding that the best way to teach my kids about money is to be as “real” as possible. Meaning, no allowance. I’ll give them jobs and corresponding payment, but no free money. We buy their basics like food clothing, etc. So if they want something more, I’ll try to find a job. Or go mow a lawn or walk a dog or sell lemonade or sell something on craigslist. My oldest is now in college and is tremendously self motivated to make and manage money, so hopefully that is a good sign.

    • Sounds like you are doing a great job teaching your kids about money! I love the way you make them do extra if they want extra. Nice work.

  7. Great advice for all parents! Kids should be involved in family finances. The age of the child will determine how much involvement they should have. Including children in the family finances early in life will pay dividends well into adulthood. We include our kids in the monthly budget meeting and the kids are often the one’s who question whether or not an expense is in the budget. You’re less likely to spend when your 8 year old is asking if that purchase is in the budget!

    • I like the idea of starting kids young too when it comes to personal finance. If you ignore their questions and discourage them from understanding your finances as a family, you’re only hurting them in the future. Thanks for the comment!

  8. I indirectly learned a lot from my mom on personal finance as well. Needs always came before wants and so forth. I didn’t realize I learned so much from her until I started living on my own. 🙂

    • Very true! I think I spent foolishly when I was at home, but when I moved out, I really began to understand my parents’ teaching.

  9. It’s amazing what tiny little things can do to impact our children’s future. You taking a little time to show interest in the things they do, or go even further like your dad did and use that information in a real way..that’s good learning experience and creates strong relationships.

    • Yep. It’s not always the big moments that are remembered. Sometimes it’s the small tihngs that you’d think would go forgotten. Use every moment you can to teach your children.

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