20 Ways NOT to Teach Your Kids about Money

kids money

There’s a lot of talk about how parents can prepare their kids for financial independence, but it’s just as important to point out ways that parents can unknowingly hurt their children’s financial success. If you haven’t started teaching your kids about how to be financially responsible, now is the time to begin. It’s never too early or too late to brush up on the best ways NOT to teach your kids about money (and how to avoid these unhelpful strategies). Here are 20 ways that you shouldn’t be teaching your kids about money and personal finance.

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Kids want things and they usually want them that instant. To make this perfectl


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13 Responses to 20 Ways NOT to Teach Your Kids about Money

  1. Traciatim says:

    “Give an Allowance without Making Kids Work”

    I don’t agree. Chores should be done by all members of a household. Allowance should be a tool to tech money skills like saving for purchases, and concepts like “If you spend it, you don’t have it anymore”. I don’t think these two things should be linked in any way.

  2. Monkey Mama says:

    Agreed with the above. My dh and I both always had allowances and so do our kids. Now, when they turn 13 or so, they will earn their own money. But at 5 they can’t work, but they are already learning important money management skills. My kids are 6 & 8 and I frankly thank they have more financial sense than most adults these days. My 8yo has had 3+ years of allowance and money management practice.

    Anyway, I am always surprised by the reaction to the term “allowance” but I just think it is how it is approached. & for us, I think it may be the most important building block in teaching our kids, because that’s all they have for the first 8 years or so of learning the basics about money. So I Feel pretty strongly that an allowance is not a bad thing. But will I give me 16yo an allowance? Heck no! That is the distinction, I guess?

  3. trish says:

    I think that most parents teach much more by their actions than they believe they are and this includes how they handle money. Kids aren’t dumb and they can quickly see what is going on even when the parents don’t think they do. When you have poor financial habits yourself, the kids are going to learn these even if you tell them otherwise.

    The best thing you can do is have your own money in order so kids can see how they are supposed to handle it.

  4. John | Married (with Debt) says:

    Great rundown of what not to do. We are currently debating an allowance and your advice about chores and accountability is very helpful. Maybe teaching them to cheat the system is a good thing :)

  5. I am totally impressed with this list…great work. I’ve been teaching parents and teachers what TO do with their kids for years and it’s all been the positive aspects of what NOT to do here. Love it. Every parent should get this as a guide!

  6. Great comprehensive list. Parents have to make financial literacy a priority and not assume that the kids are learning and understanding basic money management techniques. We use a combination approach for handling allowance and chores. We give a very small weekly allowance, certain expected chores and optional larger jobs to earn more money.

  7. Brad Chaffee says:

    My 5 year old and I just had a conversation today about him wanting video games. We have been giving him a commission for 2 small jobs a week but he kind of dropped the ball and I didn’t say anything because he knew if he works he gets paid, if he didn’t work he doesn’t get paid. Trying to teach him about working hard and today the conversation I’ve been waiting for happened.

    He wanted a video game — actually he wanted 4 video games — and I wanted to buy him one but stayed strong. I told him one of the ways we are able to live in a house, eat food, and be warm as well as buy the toys we enjoy is by earning money for working.

    He said oh, and admitted he hadn’t been doing his 2 little jobs. Then I reminded him that he can start working again and when he does he will get a paycheck every two weeks. As a 5 year old he knows some of this stuff already but I think it’s pretty normal for a 5 year old to try and test the powers that be. LOL

    He said he would definitely start working again and I told him I would put up a chores “timecard” on the fridge for him to check off each night. He seemed excited. :)

    Great post!

    P.S. That happens to be a picture of my 2.5 year old when he was about 1.5 years old. haha! It’s always neat to see people use my images from flickr. 😀


  8. Eric says:

    I used to think that an allowance should not be tied to chores, but I have changed my mind. I want my children to understand that there aren’t any freebies out there; that they will have to work to earn money. I created a chore list for everyone. There are some that have to be done daily (homework, clothes, pets, etc.) and some that are done weekly (clean rooms, vacuuming, etc.). I also include items that can be done at any time by anybody. Every one of these things is assigned a dollar value and as things get done, they earn the corresponding money. I agree Traciatim that chores are the responsibility of the entire household, so I modified our chore/allowance list. The things they are expected to do on an daily or weekly basis HAVE to be done FIRST and earn the least amount of money. Once done, they get to take on bigger chores to earn bigger money. Also, instead of handing out money, I keep track on a chart of the money they’ve earned. If they want some of what they’ve earned, they ask me and I deduct it on the chart. Now, instead of “Can I have some money for XYZ”, I get asked “How much is XYZ and how much do I have in the ‘bank’.”

  9. Marcia says:

    I agree about the allowance and chores distinction. I got an allowance to help me learn how to save and spend money. When I got a paper route at around 15 and started babysitting at 16 the allowance stopped. Chores are to teach kids how to take responsibility and learn basic skills like making beds, doing laundry and dishes, and contributing their share to a household. In my opinion there’s nothing wrong with allowing a child to do extra chores or chores they wouldn’t ordinarily do to help them earn extra money for something they want. But I have met up with kids who think they shouldn’t have to lift a finger around the house unless they get paid for it. There’s a lot of work we do in life that we don’t get paid for but that has to be done regardless. So I don’t think that allowances and chores should be connected.

  10. Gail says:

    I never got an allowance and was doing chores by the time I was 5 at least. Somewhere I learned money handling skills and have taught them to my kids even though they also didn’t get allowances. I have heard some really bizarre (to Me) methods of determining how much an allowance should be and according to these lists, some kids would be getting more a month than I get as an adult in spending money for the month. These types of ‘rules’ seem to assume that every family has money to pass on for allowances and it just doesn’t and can’t happen in every family. But that doesn’t mean that kids can’t learn money handling skills at the same time.

  11. Sara says:

    I pinned this to pinterest. I hope you don’t mind my sharing it!

  12. poppy says:

    Thanks for this encouragment, i was searching as i was feeling bad that my 4 teen boys were being deprived a bit but to my amazement i pretty much ticked all the boxes of how i teach my boys and this is confirmed to me im not being mean but loving them and investing in their future by teaching this stuff now!My boys know how to shop haha they buy budget brands if cheaper than regular brands etc and are not even worried about labels!They know how to get bang out of their buck, i have been quite secretive about my own finaces so this was a new concept to me about being open!I have recently ask all four boys to write a list of their needs in order of what they need the most,my second youngest gave me his list here goes new underwear, a haircut,hair wax and some new tees was last as he has quite a few but some new ones would be nice, i was so impressed with his list! I dont give my boys an allowence but if they need money i give them xtra jobs not on the familys chore list which we all contribute to without pay as we all make the mess! one of my sons has a part time job after school twelve hours a week now and has already brought his computer within 7 weeks of working and has internet at last! I am glad i found this as know i will feel less guilt knowing im doing the right thing and that others are too and its not just me and the way my solo dad brought us up, he did say he taught us how to survive!

  13. Neha says:

    Today kids don’t understand the value of money. They just know how to spend money. I have a daughter of 9years. She always says for money and shopping. Your ideas are innovative. I will try all this.

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