What do you want your children to know about money?

One of the pastors at my church preached on what the Bible says about personal finances. As each main point dropped like bombs on top of me, I sunk down in my chair realizing how much I need to grow in this area. My wife read my mind at that very moment. As soon as the pastor offered a budgeting workshop to the congregation, my wife registered both of us for the class before the preacher could ask for an “Amen.”

I thought about my children and asked myself the question that I now ask you, “What do you want your children to know about money?” I will list at least 3 thoughts that I believe in and if I haven’t been practicing what I preach, then it starts today. Let’s see if this list sticks after the budget seminar. Here’s what I have for now. This is what I want my kids to know about money.

1. If you can’t afford it, then you really can’t afford it. I think that I have had to learn and re-learn this lesson at least a thousand times. I guess it’s because I have to make this is a proven saying. I remember getting my first credit card from the table in front of the college bookstore. The year was 1986, and I was making $3 and some change per hour at Gemco 20 hours a week. Once I was approved, I made some trips to Disneyland. I also purchased a car stereo and some clothes. It didn’t take me long before I maxed out the credit card in a span of 4 weeks. I want my children to know that much discipline is needed with credit. I want them to know that if you can’t afford it, then you really can’t afford it until you save up for it or decide that it’s not an item or experience you’re not willing to pay for.

2. Have intentions with your money. Who’s guilty of that self-talk, “If I had more money, I’d help out so-an-so,” or “I’d give to that charity if I had money to give.” Me. I’ve said that. I want my children to know that they don’t have to aimlessly spend their money on whatever makes them feel happy. One of my favorite Jewish Proverbs says that a generous soul shall be made rich. I believe that your money should go beyond yourself and the four walls of your home. Helping those in need should be part of their intentions with money.

3. Who’s the boss? I want my children to determine that they are in charge of their money. They aren’t slaves to their money. I don’t agree with the popular saying that money is root of all evil. That is not what they Bible says. Money is good or bad. 1 Timothy  6:10 explains that it is the LOVE of money that sets us in the wrong direction. Our attitude towards money and how we use it is the heart issue that rich people, poor people, and everyone in the middle has to figure out. I want my children to be excellent stewards of their finances.

Money is such a big thing in our lives. It shouldn’t be the biggest thing. It definitely shouldn’t be the one thing that consumes our thoughts. That spot belongs to God. It even says so on our bills and coins. I should get one of those custom printed on my VISA to remind myself.

What are your thoughts? What do you want your children to know about money?