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Can You Help my Kids be Good with Money?

by Sarah McMurray

Can You Help my Kids be Good with Money?

I get asked this question all the time. But it didn’t get interesting until I thought I could quickly write an answer in a 300-word blog post.

First, I asked “What do you mean when you say ‘good with money’”?

Most answers were along the lines of “they always spend less than they earn.”

Which made me pause.

I mean, absolutely! Spend less than you earn! Doing this over your life time is the key to financial stability, and a pathway to wealth. But I know lots of people who are great with money, who had times in their life when they didn’t follow that advice.

And why the sole emphasis on spending? Why not, “when they need more money, they can figure out ways to get more?” I get that cutting back spending is more often within our control, but still – isn’t the ability to hustle, the learning of employable skills, or the talent to create something that others will buy also being ‘good with money’?

When the original blog post morphed into a confusing 1000-word muddle, I stopped, and made a mind-map to try and summarise all the things that encompass being ‘good with money’. I came up with around 33 ideas and concepts in a big tangle of intersecting lines and colours.

Which I then realised come under three main headings:

  • Getting Money
  • Keeping Money
  • Using Money

And in order to be ‘good’ at each of these, our kids need:

  • Clarity – knowing the key numbers
  • Values – to guide their decisions
  • Adaptability – to adjust their behaviour to different situations

Only then do the standard suggestions of how to be ‘good with money’ actually make sense.

300 words won’t cut it. I think I’m going to need a bigger format.

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