Children and Money

10 Money Do’s to Raising Financially Confident Kids

10 Money Do's to Raise Financially Confident Kids | www.TheHeavyPurse.comI developed my children’s books as an easy way to help parents start the money conversation because these kinds of talks remain a missed opportunity for too many. It’s my hope that I can help parents reconsider how they look at money and their kids.

Parents often tell me they don’t want their kids to worry about money. I understand. I don’t want my girls to worry about whether or not Mom and Dad can pay the bills either. At the same time, I don’t want to watch my girls make one poor money decision after another as adults, because I never taught them how to make good ones when they were young. This is, unfortunately, an all too real reality for many parents.

10 Money Do’s to Help Your Kids Develop a Healthy Relationship with Money

One common misperception about teaching kids how to handle their money wisely is that it needs to be complicated. It doesn’t. These are simple conversations. Most of the time, you’re just explaining the things you do, like why you comparison shop or spend more money on one item than another. To help you get started and raise financially confident kids, here are some important money do’s.

Money Do: Talk to Your Kids about Money

Make the commitment to break the money taboo cycle in your home. Be transparent about how you use your money (where appropriate) and avoid keeping “money secrets”. Kids are eager to learn from you because they recognize the power of money. Teach them how to use that power in a way that brings them real joy.

Money Do: Be a Good Financial Role Model

Be mindful of your words and actions and make sure they are in alignment. Often times, we inadvertently give mixed messages about money to our kids. We say one thing, “Be grateful for what you have”, then complain about our lack. Be aware, especially with young children, as they are very literal. So if you say “we can’t afford it” without explaining the “why” behind the “no”, they literally believe you can’t afford it and worry about whether you can afford food, etc. You’ve created a much deeper and potentially permanent fear around money and lack, when in most cases, you simply meant they didn’t need another toy.

Money Do: Give Your Money Purpose through Goal-Setting

This is one of the first lessons I taught my girls. It is the best defense against mindless spending. And because the girls know what they truly want through their save, spend and share goals, when they choose in favor of their goals over other items, they don’t even feel deprived.

Money Do: Talk Through How You Make Your Decisions

It may be easier to internalize your decisions, but you’re missing a great teachable moment. I love asking the girls for their opinions on the things we buy and which item they would choose. It gives me a chance to explain my decision and teach them about price — and when it matters most and when other considerations, such as qualities and values, outweigh it.

Money Do: Let Them Flex Their Decision-Making Muscles

Kids need firsthand experience on making decisions, both good and bad, in order to learn how to make confident money decisions. So guide your kids to the best decision, but ultimately let them decide how to use their money. When they find something else they want, let them decide whether they should buy it or not, even if they are making a mistake. Money mistakes are going to happen no matter what you do, and I would rather my girls make them when the consequences are small.

Money Do: Practice Daily Gratitude

Gratitude is a big part of my life and core family value in our home. We make a point to appreciate the things we do and have AND the things that others have and do too. As important as it is to be grateful for what you have, you need to also be grateful, rather than envious, of what others have as well. I want my girls to see that we don’t feel entitled to our good life and recognize blessings, both ours and others.

Money Do: Celebrate Goal Achievement

When you achieve family and/or individual save, spend and share goals, celebrate your success! It is a big deal and it should feel like a magnificent accomplishment. The bigger your enthusiasm, the more your children (and you too) will want to do this again and again.

Money Do: Share Your Money Mistakes

It may be your initial inclination to hide your money skeletons, but please don’t. When appropriate share some of your mistakes with your kids, focusing on the “why” and what you did to fix or turn around your situation. This is how your kids learn and hopefully will choose to avoid repeating your mistakes.

Money Do: Give Kids a Way to Earn Money

Money is rarely just given for no reason in my home. The girls earn money through our weekly Job List. The girls control how much money they earn by the number of jobs they complete. If they do a great job, I pay the occasional bonus and will reduce or not pay for poor jobs. Another option is to help your kids find their entrepreneurial spirit and make money through creating a business. My girls are big fans of lemonade stands. 🙂

Money Do: Follow The Heavy Purse to Learn How to Raise Financially Confident Kids

Teaching kids about money is ongoing. It doesn’t end. So be sure to sign up my newsletter and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube to stay up-to-date on my latest tools and tips to help you raise financially confident kids.


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Leave a Comment


  1. Monday, July 21st, 2014
    These are all great lines of thought to follow Shannon! It's difficult to find one I agree with most. :) That said, I think the role model point is a huge one. Our oldest is six and I could not agree more that younger kids are very literal thinkers. That requires us to try and communicate the reasoning behind our decision making process so they develop a mindset that we can't afford things or are on the way to being broke. That brings in pointing back to our goals and getting them excited about those which is a double bonus in my book. :)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, July 21st, 2014
      Thanks, John! I think it's really easy to forget how literal kids can be, especially when they are young. I have found goals to be a really great answer to the "I wants" and helps me avoid the dreaded "We can't afford this" answer. Of course, this means that you have to set goals and share them with your kids, but those are all great lessons for them to learn as well. :)
  2. Monday, July 21st, 2014
    My personal favorite here is "talk through how you make your decisions". I think explaining your decision-making process and why you make your decisions is a critical part of the process that is easily forgotten given the fast-paced lives we're all living. Great tips here!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, July 21st, 2014
      I agree, Natalie. I know there are days when I just want to power through the store but taking a few minutes to explain how I make decisions goes a long ways in helping the girls understand the process. I just don't randomly put things in my cart and price isn't always the sole factor either. These kids need to learn and often times don't, unfortunately.
  3. Monday, July 21st, 2014
    I think that "Celebrate Goal Achievement" could well be the best of a list of great suggestions! Not only does it help build good money skills, but it helps create a more positive person generally. Great list.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, July 21st, 2014
      Absolutely, Brad! We tend to overlook celebrating our successes but it's important we take the time and recognize our achievements. It does help create a positive outlook and we should enjoy our goal achievement.
  4. Monday, July 21st, 2014
    This is a great list Shannon!! I think that as much as possible, you should allow kids to make money decisions or allow them to participate in money decisions for the family. Will has had his own money for a few years now and because he does, he has to make money decisions all of the time. Some of them have been good and some bad, but he is learning along the way.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, July 21st, 2014
      I agree, Shannon. It's really hard not to speak up when I know the girls are making a mistake (and I'm sure it's hard for you with Will too), but it's so important that they get to make their own decisions and learn how to handle the consequences. The good news is the girls learn from every mistake, and I can see them mentally walking through the various outcomes when they make decisions, which makes me happy to see.
  5. Monday, July 21st, 2014
    Great tips Shannon I hope to be a good financial role model for my daughter :)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
      Thanks, Mackenzie! I am confident that you will be a great financial role model to your daughter, my friend. :)
  6. Monday, July 21st, 2014
    These are great tips! I agree about how important it is to be a good role model. My parents rarely talked about money but I learned about frugality because I watched their actions.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, July 21st, 2014
      We don't always realize how carefully our kids are watching us. And sometimes our actions carry far more weight. It sounds like your parents were good financial role models and I know you and Greg are to your girls too.
  7. Monday, July 21st, 2014
    Great tips! I find being a good financial role model relatively easy for me...but I really need to work on being better at talking about money. I also think it's a good idea to let your kids flex their decision making muscles. Hey you don't work out that doesn't grow right? Sometimes it's good to let them learn through experience even when you think they're making the wrong decision. They'll learn the consequences of their money mistakes.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, July 21st, 2014
      Absolutely, Andrew. You have to let them make decisions now, when you still have the ability to guide them and help them understand where they made mistakes too. It's very hard watching them make a money mistake but I know the girls are better decisions makers today because I let them make mistakes.
  8. Monday, July 21st, 2014
    These are all great Money Do's Shannon! Some of them my parents did and some of them they didn't. I'm glad you are doing all of these things with your girls and I hope parents are taking time to learn more about money alongside their kids!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, July 21st, 2014
      Thanks, Kayla! The best thing is that these to-do's are not hard or complicated. Easy to implement and make a huge difference for both parents and kids! :)
  9. Monday, July 21st, 2014
    We gave our kids jobs and paid them for them. These were in addition to their normal household chores. For example, the following are things that were household chores versus paid jobs:

    Household chores:
    - empty garbage cans in all the rooms
    - set the table
    - load the dishwasher
    - empty the dishwasher
    - vacuum

    Paid jobs:
    - mowing the lawn
    - cleaning out the pantry
    - cleaning out the fridge
    - organizing the shoes in the front hall closet
    - tilling the garden

    I guess you could say chores were like weekly things and paid jobs were not as frequent (well except maybe mowing the lawn, but that was a big job!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Monday, July 21st, 2014
      We have household chores too, where those are expected tasks, not paid jobs. I think it's important to differentiate between what's expected and what's an "extra" job. Looks like your kids had lots of good jobs to earn money from! :)
  10. Monday, July 21st, 2014
    "Money Do: Give Your Money Purpose through Goal-Setting" -> this is my favorite one. I think the sooner your kids understand the power of correlating goals with money the better off they will be.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
      I agree, DC. That is one of the most important lessons we can teach our kids. If they get that, they are well on their way to being financially confident.
  11. Monday, July 21st, 2014
    Great post Shannon.

    As you know I'm always sharing my financial mistakes with my kids and it is paying off because they are listening and asking questions about saving money, what a line of credit is, etc.

    Thanks for sharing these tips with us. Great advice as usual :). Definitely sharing this post!

    Happy Monday!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
      Thanks, Corina! I know you do a great job of talking to your teens about money, which I think is fantastic. And I love hearing that they are taking it to heart and asking you questions. Thanks for sharing the post too. :)
  12. Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
    I think this is a wonderful list. My sister has a one year old daughter, and she even has conversations with her about what she is spending her money on and where it comes from. I think that if these are done when they are very young then it will just be a part of the weekly/monthly/daily ritual. This really is a wonderful list. When it comes to my family, my husband and I have been working very hard on having these sometimes uncomfortable conversations about money so that we are on the same page.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
      Thank you, Michelle! Love hearing that your sister is already talking to her niece. I agree when you start when they are so young it becomes normal and easy to do. Yes, the conversations can sometimes be uncomfortable but it is worth getting everyone on the same page.
  • Meet Shannon

    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.” - Shannon Ryan