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This article is from a series of articles about giving your children the life-skills necessary to effectively manage their money. To go to the table of contents, click here.

Set a Good Example

Financial responsibility begins at home. Whether you realize it or not, you teach children about money constantly, either directly through your spending and saving priorities, or indirectly in casual conversation.

Every time kids go to a store, a restaurant or a ball game, they learn about money and about what adults think is important and valuable.

More than anything else, your own spending and saving patterns (and the money attitudes they suggest) form the basis of your family's financial values. How can you make sure you're passing on the values you want your kids to have? The first step is to think about what your priorities are and what message you are sending about finances. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What kind of financial role model am I?
  • What kind of financial example am I setting for my family?
  • What are my family's financial goals?
  • Do I have trouble paying bills on time or handling credit?
  • Do I involve the kids in family financial decisions?
  • Do I expect them to be financially responsible?

The more honestly you can answer these questions, the more effective your efforts will be.

Kids should start learning about money at an early age. If you include your kids in the process of family financial decision-making (even in a limited way), they'll be on their way to a financial education.