How to raise financially resilient kids.

1. Help them develop a vocabulary for what they value.

Ask them why they like spending time with friends. Why do they like a subject or a teacher? Help them explore words beyond the word, ‘nice.’ I like Mr. Smith because he is interesting. I like Sarah because she is kind. This will help them uncover what they value in life.  

You may want to discuss with your children your values and the values you have as a family.

2. Demonstrate managing money in alignment with those core values.

When you know what your core values are you can discuss how you can manage money in alignment with those values. Do you value financial freedom? Are you averse to debt? How do you feel about your current level of debt? Is your current financial picture aligned with your core values?

3. Be a good example of what a healthy relationship with money looks like.

This means not using money as emotional currency. It means not shopping to fill an emotional need such as loneliness or boredom. What place does money take in your family’s life? Are you financially where you’d like to be? Show them how long it can take to pay off debt. Especially when you don’t pay off your credit card each month. This would be available on your credit card statement.

At the same time, be conscious of any limiting beliefs you may have about money. Do you often repeat the common refrain, “We can’t afford it?” You do not want your children adopting a mindset of lack. Instead of saying, “we cannot afford it” ask instead, “how can we afford this?” It helps them prioritize their needs and wants.

4. Teach them to shop wisely.

Show them how to comparison shop. With children being as savvy on the computer as they generally are, comparison shopping means not always having to leave your home to get the best deal. Teach them as well, that not everything they see on the computer is accurate. False advertising exists. 

5. Help them create a budget.

Once your children are receiving gifts or income from part-time work, help them create a budget. Teach them to save at least 10% of all they earn.

6. Teach them about opportunity cost:

The money you have with you is finite. Opportunity cost is the economic term to explain the cost of what’s foregone by acquiring something else. Spending your money on one thing may mean you may not have enough to purchase something different. 

Buying the bicycle may mean delaying when you can afford to buy a new cell phone. Using credit should not be encouraged as an option!

7. Teach them the social cost of consumption.

Whenever we purchase something there is the private cost (which is the price of the thing we purchased) and the social cost which is the costs to society for having to make what we bought.

If you buy a new car the social cost of consumption would include the impact on society when that car was built – the environmental impact, the hours that people on the assembly line had to put in to build that car. This helps create greater awareness of the impact our purchases have on society.

8. Remind them of all the things they have that money cannot buy.

Regularly discuss with your children all the things they have in their lives that money cannot buy; love, happiness, safety, sunny days, etc.

9. Teach them that money should be shared.

As with our other resources, money should be shared. Find ways to teach your children to share a part of all they earn with underprivileged people. Donate to a food bank. Pay for a classmate to go camping.

10. Talk openly about money to your children.

Money should never be a taboo subject. Talk about your views on money. Become aware of your beliefs around money. Decide what beliefs you want your children to inherit.


From “Growing Up with Money: Raising Financially Resilient Kids.” By Jennifer Thomspon.

Jennifer Thompson is also the author of “It’s Never Just About the Money: Financial Wisdom From Women Women.” and “Millennials & Money: 10 Ways to Build Wealth in Any Economy.”

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