I learned how to manage money the hard way. I stepped out into the world full of enthusiasm but with frequently empty pockets. My parents, who didn’t handle money well, unintentionally taught me to do the same.
So I’m convinced that no matter where you live or what you do, home is the best place for your kids to learn how to manage money. Whether you’re a missionary family in Asia or a suburban family in Southern California, your kids can get their best financial training at home.
If you homeschool, you could even view this training as part of the kids’ curriculum. But getting started can be tricky. One reason is that a pesky prerequisite for learning how to manage money is having some money to manage. And that can be hard to come by if you’re living on a tight budget. “Kids’ Allowance” isn’t a typical line item for most people’s budgets, especially missionaries raising support.
One way to clear this hurdle is to consider allowance money as essential for your kids’ education, just like textbooks. It’s an investment, not an expense, and one that pays great dividends.
I appreciate the perspective homeschool mom Amy Koons offers in a recent Homeschooling Now blog:
Studies have shown—according to what I read in Raising Money Smart Kids—that kids end up having access to the same amount of cash, whether they get an allowance or not. Kids who get an allowance have to save up for things and properly allocate money, or learn to go without. Kids who don’t get an allowance need last-minute money from mom or dad, on the way out the door. Both have access to cash but only one of them is learning to self-regulate.
I’m happy to report that after I left home I eventually did learn to self-regulate, thanks to people like Ron Blue, Larry Burkett, Dave Ramsey…and my wife. But Mom and Dad would have spared me considerable hardship if they had started my financial education much earlier…at home.