How Do We Teach Our Children About Money?

Question from a reader:

I am leading a class of young families at my church and we are presently talking about how to teach your children about money. What are your answers to the following questions?

Money, Possessions & Eternity

Answers from Linda Jeffries, former EPM staff: 

1. What age is an appropriate age to teach children about money?

This is really a family decision that you should ask God to give you wisdom about. Ages may vary.

Randy gave his two daughters the three jars bank (giving, saving, and spending) when they were 7 and 5 years of age.

2. What is the balance of allowance/salary and chores?

Randy writes, "Although money should be associated with work, not all work should be associated with money. Children shouldn't always be paid for their chores. However, there are many 'extras' that can legitimately be rewarded financially. There are jobs outside the home that children can take on as they grown older. It's important to teach your children a work ethic."

3. What should the ratio be between savings and spending?

Randy writes, "When I first started giving my girls .50 a week, a nickel was sacred, designated to the Lord [they often would choose to give more], then they would choose an amount to put in savings and the rest was available to spend."

I believe Randy would be firm on the 10% as a baseline for giving, but he would be flexible with the ratio for saving and spending.

4. How do we deal with grandparents giving too much to our children?

This could be a difficult question to answer as I'm sure your parents love your children very much and probably don't even realize the full extent of your feelings on the gift giving. What I would suggest is to pray about how to address this situation with your parents and lovingly let them know your desires and ask them to honor your request for practical gifts for the children.

5. What about part-time jobs?

Randy writes, "It's important to teach your children a work ethic. On the other hand, it's equally important that children learn to put work and other commitments in their proper place. Jobs, youth group, athletics, music, school activities and other commitments although all these can be good, something's wrong when other pursuits are above ministry, fellowship and the teaching of Scripture…too busy making money to go to church…"

When my sons were both 14 years old, they had part-time jobs at a dog kennel. They always attended youth group and Bible study (asking for those days off). They both were involved with sports and both went on summer missions trips. They made sure they balanced working just enough to pay for car insurance, gas and spending money (and tithing, of course), but not working so much they missed out high school and church events. But finding a balance is key.

Here is an article that will also answer some of your questions.

For more, see Randy's book Money, Possessions and Eternity.

To read additional articles and resources about the subject of money, visit our website.

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries