Resolving Mixed Money Messages as Parents

by Lisa McCarthy

Money TreeWhen my husband and I first met, we handled money very differently. He was way more money smart than I was, and really opened my eyes to some of my bad financial habits. Luckily, I was a quick learner, and a lot of his money smarts began to rubbed off on me.

When we had our first child, the subject of how we would teach her about money and finances wasn't on our list of conversations. As we sat as spent endless hours gazing at our new baby our conversations were about how much we wanted to give her, show her, and do for her. My money smart husband was starry eyed and nothing was too good for our daughter.

Then as she began to grow and ask for things, well reality set in, but of course the root of our money habits were very different, and we realized we were sending mixed messages. It never occurred to us as parents that we needed to discuss how we were going to handle money issues with our child.

So we sat down and talked about what we really wanted to teach her and what money values we wanted our daughter to learn.
Of course every family will be different based on their own values. Here is what we came up with. What are yours?

How to Use Money

Money can buy both wants and needs. Wants are nice to have, but not something that you always get. Money doesn't define who you are, so buying expensive flashy things doesn't make you a better person. When using money, think about what you are spending it on and why. It's okay to buy things but make sure it's within your means and something you truly want or need to spend money on.

Money is Earned

Money doesn't grow on trees -- you have to work for it. Find something you love to do and see how you can turn that into something you can make a living doing. Set financial goals based on what you want out of life. It's okay if they are ambitious, but don't become so obsessed that you miss out on life. It's also okay, if your goals are moderate, as long as you can take care of yourself and family and enjoy your life.

Establish a Budget and Set Goals

No matter how much money you make you need to be able to manage it. Never spend more than you make. If you want something, set a goal on how to save enough to get it.

I know these don't cover every aspect of money management, but it was the basis of money values that we wanted to instill in our child. Not everyone will agree, and everyone will have different values they want to teach their children. It's important to make sure you have a plan of what you want your child to learn about money and that you as parents are teaching the same message.

How will you go about doing that?

Lisa McCarthyLisa Laughton McCarthy is a mom with a passion! As the founder of MoneySmartKidz and author of "The Money Tree," Lisa, takes delight in finding fun creative ways to help show young children the value of financial independence! Her first book "The Money Tree," with its eye-catching illustrations, is the answer to every parent who wants to give their child a head start on the road to financial independence.

Join Lisa and the MoneySmartKidz movement on Facebook and Twitter.