Financial Independance for Parents and Children

Writing Sample. This article was written for Money Coach Sheila Walkington.

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”~ Clarence Budington Kelland.

Did you know 3 out of 5 Canadian parents and grandparents are concerned their children won’t be able to handle money when they grow up? Why, because these parents aren’t handling their own money very well.

The lessons we learn as children about money set the stage for our financial futures. It is important for families to be able to talk about money but it is also important to remember that children will do as parents do, not as they say. So parents, set a good example and learn to manage your money responsibly. Teach your children well and set good money habits for them early on that will lay the foundation for their financial futures.

If You Have Young Children
Give them an allowance in return for chores so they learn the value of money – make sure you give it to them on a regular schedule so they can count on it – weekly is best. And never give them more if the spend it all on the first day. That’s a hard lesson they need to learn on their own.

Encourage them to divide their allowance into 3 or 4 categories/ pots /piggy banks:

Spending – guilt-free money to spend how they want.
Saving for a big purchase – let them learn patience. Don’t rush out to buy the newest game or toy for them, instead encourage them to save up and buy it with cash when they have the money.
Giving – select a charity or cause to support as a family.

And for older children and teens..
Long-term Saving – get them thinking about education and financial independence. The sooner they invest the better for you both.

If You Have Adult Children
You have taught them everything you know (and likely a few things you didn’t expect). Now they need you to let them learn for themselves.

Instead of bailing them out of financial woes, consider using your money to hire someone to teach them how to manage their money. Working with a professional will give them a new perspective on money and you will be empowering them to be independent rather than encouraging them to be dependent.

If You are Depending on Your Parents
Forgive them – parents have a terrible time. On the one hand they want us to grow up and be self-sufficient and on the other, they want to take care of us and shelter us from hardship. This conundrum gets even more complicated when it comes to money. Do they encourage you to be financially independent or do they reward your overspending by paying your debts?

We get so many messages about money from our parents:

  • there is never enough
  • money doesn’t grow on trees
  • discussion of it involves tears
  • ask nicely, or scream loudly enough and there is always more
  • mom and dad (or grandpa) will always bail me out
  • money isn’t for fun, we work hard and it has to last
  • it’s the root of all evil!

Money is none of these things. Money is a tool for the efficient exchange of goods and services. You are an adult now. You can educate yourself about money. You can make your own decisions and form your own beliefs. And you can honour yourself and your parents by being financially independent. If you want help building a plan to be financially independent don’t call your parents, call a money coach!

Want permission to republish this, or any other article I write with my clients? Email Kim Lear.

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