Impart Financial Values to Your Children

Physician's Money DigestApril15 2003
Volume 10
Issue 7

Learn the "value of a dollar," is oftenrepeated by parents worldwide. Kidswho miss out on this timeless talk mayface devastating consequences. Thebest approach for physician-parents isto teach by example. It's up to you topractice the same financial principlesthat you preach to them.

Our grandparents sang the same value-of-a-dollar tune to our parents, who thenpreached the harmony to us. But, the connectionis becoming so distant.

Unlike the years when the employedstood on pedestals, in today's mobile societythere are an unprecedented numberof 2-income families, bringing in moremoney than ever before. Yet, work limitstime with our kids, which leads to tremendousguilt. In response, the tendency is toprovide children with money in lieu oftime. Money actually becomes a substitutefor participating in our kids' lives.

The end result of all this is thattoday's youth expect more and knowless about what anything costs. Rarelydo they work for their money and,therefore, don't appreciate the value ofa dollar. Acting as if money grows ontrees sums up the attitude of the majorityof today's fiscally challenged youth.

Today, money is more available thanever. Even teenagers can receive creditcards without parental approval. Whatteenagers don't realize is that easymoney has strings attached. Kids whoskip the tough lessons become financiallyhandicapped, making it difficult forthem to take responsibility for theirmoney problems. By failing to teach thevalue of a dollar, we're raising a generationof children disinterested in makingtheir own financial decisions.

Give your kids a healthy financialstart. Teach them the basics of moneymanagement, and make sure they watchyou practice it. Use the following valuabletips to get your children fiscally fit:

  • Teach children to take ownership oftheir required household chores.
  • Talk to children about the value ofitems they buy, their purchasing decisions,and their options for using money.
  • Open up bank accounts for yourkids. Encourage them that no amount istoo small to deposit. Encourage kids tomake the deposits themselves.
  • Involve kids in household financialissues, such as the family budget, livingexpenses, college/retirement funds, andsaving for vacations and major purchases.Kids ought to know how parentsapproach future plans. This teachesthem that vacations, new cars, and newclothes don't just happen on a whim.
  • Use a weekly allowance to teachthem how to budget. Show them howquickly it adds up when they save.
  • Discuss the difference betweenwants and needs. Let them lend a handand help you pay the bills 1 month.
  • Kids should earn their money basedon age-appropriate standards. For example,if a teenage driver does not maintaina 3.0 GPA, then the parent is no longerresponsible for paying car insurance. Thisis a crucial step that demands consistencyand follow-through by parents.
  • Base the amount of an allowanceon what it has to cover as well as whatyou can afford to pay. Help them createa spending and savings plan.
  • A high school graduate should knowhow to budget, save, balance a checkbook,and avoid the credit card debt trap.

Implementing these ideas into yourchildren's financial plans puts them onthe right track to becoming productiveindividuals. It's part of our social responsibilityas parents. Follow through withthese ideas, and set a good personalexample. Encourage often, and providelots of positive feedback. Teaching kidsto have a healthy attitude about moneyhelps them learn patience and discipline—skills necessary for success inalmost any situation today.

Joel G. Block, knownas the Growth Architect, ispresident of Growth-Logic,Inc, in Agoura Hills, Calif.Growth-Logic provides financialplanning, insurance, andinvestment services. For more information,call 818-597-2990 or visit James P. Murphy is a partner in theaccounting firm Lucas, Horsfall, Murphy &Pindroh, LLP, and a principal in LHMPFinancial & Insurance Services, LLC, inPasadena, Calif. For more information, call626-744-5100 or visit

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