Teaching Kids Money Wisdom
During the recent recession, many families could relate to the wisdom of Proverbs 23:5: “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.”
That’s a pretty good description of what the last year or two felt like for a lot of us. We learned again how unreliable money is in an up and down economy. Several news reports showed that kids and teens felt the impact, as well, slowing their spending and helping the family to conserve.
A report in Sunday’s LA Times titled “Free-spending teens return to malls” suggests that trend is starting to reverse itself.
But now teen shoppers are making a comeback. For two months in a row, teen retailers have soared past sales expectations. Notably, Abercrombie & Fitch Co., known for its sexy advertising and casual-but-pricey fashions, snapped its 20-month streak of negative sales with an 8% increase in January.
The story quotes one 14 year old shopper as saying, “Last year I didn’t shop as much,” but now, “the urge has come.”
Is that a good thing? Retailers may say yes, but parents who want their kids to grow wise need to ask if their teens are learning to manage resources well, no matter what the economy is doing. That’s one of the “Seven Marks of Wise Person,” according to Mark Matlock. (You could read more about the “Seven Marks” at TheWisdomDeck.com.)
And our kids aren’t likely to learn good money habits without us. A new survey by TheMint.org reported on Credit.com reveals that 68 percent of teens polled said their parents had the most influence on their spending and saving habits. The bad news is that 70 percent say also say their parents “sometimes spent on silly purchases and rarely met with them over money management.”
That might explain why that LA Times story quotes that 14 year old as saying, “I don’t really set a budget for myself. I just buy what I love.”
Obviously, our role as parents is to model good money choices, as well as to teach them. And it’s never too late to start doing either. Even when we make poor choices or suffer the consequences of past money missteps, our children benefit from our willingness to let them listen in as we talk about money strategies and own the outcomes of our choices.
In addition, we can let them see us turning to wise counselors—including God’s Word—for help to do better. That could involve something as quick and easy as talking about a proverb that teaches wisdom in managing resources.
You’ll find lots of those on TheWisdomDeck.com, sorted according to category, but here’s a good one to start with about controlling our consumption: “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” (Proverbs 21:20) Why not bring it up with your kids some time this week?
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