Instead of get-rich-quick dreams, maybe we should consider that God wants us to "get rich slow." While we wait, we should teach our children how to handle money.
Last week in Lexington, SC, someone bought a quick-pick lottery ticket worth $399.4 million. (The lump sum after taxes is $223.3 million, or $13 million annually over 29 years.) Now, I don’t play the lottery, but I sure do fantasize about the day I win it. I’ll give to charity. I’ll pay off our home—and my extended family’s homes, and possibly even some friends’ homes. I’ll visit people I love. Wait, why stop there? I’ll buy a plane so my pilot-husband can fly us there. (I plan on winning big.)
State and local officials will be more than happy to encourage you to get rich quickly, because those lottery tickets help fund government programs.
I appreciated Pastor Jeske's comment: "instead of get-rich-quick dreams, maybe we should consider that God wants us to “get rich slow.”
“Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow” (Proverbs 13:11).
If that message is true for me (and it is, because God’s words are always true), that message is true for our kids too. If we teach kids good saving habits now, they will be better prepared to fight against the world’s spending message. (And, frankly, to fight against their own internal messages of greed and wealth.)
Kids of all ages can learn to divide their money into three groups:
Giving—saying thank you to God by first giving a percentage back to him through church and charity.
Saving—for short-term goals, maybe that giant Lego set or an American Girl doll or a bicycle or an iPod touch.
Spending—to buy their own gum or souvenirs on vacations across the country or the non-matching neon socks they just have to get.
Preschoolers: Keep it simple. Pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters add up little by little, but even my kids tell me that you can’t get much for a dollar. So let your three-year-old use his or her spending money on a trip to the dollar section at your local store.
Tweens: Kids have the ability to think longer term, so have them save for bigger ticket items. Each of our daughters saved for almost two years to buy an iPod touch. (And one of them is still deciding whether to use additional savings to repair the cracked screen or if she can continue to live with it that way.)
This is also a great time to open a bank account and teach them about interest. With small accounts, interest isn’t much, but isn’t this the perfect way to teach them to watch it grow “little by little”?
Teenagers: When teens get a job babysitting or lawn mowing, at a restaurant or the local pool, they not only learn life skills that they need for a career, but they also learn how to handle bigger amounts of money. Let them get direct deposit to encourage them to save more. Expect them to save for college. Make sure they save enough to cover the deductible for car insurance. As a bonus, as soon as teens have earned income from a job, they can contribute to an IRA.Have them meet a financial planner to discuss their money.
No matter what method you use to teach your kids to save, give them the pride that comes from learning how to earn money and save it wisely—and even to make mistakes now when the consequences aren’t so big.