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Four Pillars to Teaching Financial Values
How to raise your children on biblically sound principles to be financially independent and wise with their money.

With our economy still facing some challenging times it becomes increasingly important to make sure that our children are being taught financial responsibility as part of our homeschooling studies. How do we raise our children to become financially independent and learn to make smart decisions with their money and how can we do so keeping Christian principles at heart?

A unique way to start children on the road to financial independence involves looking at four pillars –

Spending
Saving
Sharing
Schooling

Spending

 “A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t, and even brags about it!” (Proverbs 13:16).

One of the best ways that children will learn about money is by being able to handle and use it. Many lessons are learned by allowing children to use their own money to make small purchases.

Children have to decide what to buy, make sure they have enough to cover the purchase and any applicable taxes and then make change by counting out the money to cover their purchase. Younger children can start by making small purchases like craft supplies, stickers, cards and small toys.

Older children can use their money to purchase their own books, music, movie tickets and food or snack purchases on family outings.

Saving

         “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it
         grow” (Proverbs 13:11).

How much pride would your child have in being able to save up and purchase their own bicycle, sports equipment, clothing or a special toy? Children take such pride of ownership when they are given the opportunity to save up and make a bigger purchase of their own.

Allowing children to make decisions and make purchases for some of the bigger items we would normally buy for them teaches them a valuable lesson.

Instead of the money coming from our pockets, it comes from theirs, and there is a lot to be said about teaching them delayed gratification in saving up and making some of their own purchases.

Starting a bank account early on will aid in the saving process and also give you the opportunity to teach them about interest. Explaining to younger children that the bank “pays” you to keep your money safe until you are ready to make a purchase is a great way to explain how interest on a bank account works.

Sharing

         “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be 
         answered"
(Proverbs 21:13).

When teaching children about money the opportunity to share how it can be used to help others should not be overlooked.

Whether you teach them to donate a portion of their savings to your church, local charities or for fundraising causes on a global scale, there are many ways sharing and giving back can be incorporated into teaching children financial responsibility. It is important to find out what your child is interested in and how they want to use money to help others. If they have a love for animals, they can find out what your local humane society needs and make purchases that will help out the animals waiting for adoption. Taking a trip to the grocery store and giving your child the opportunity to pick out and purchase items to drop off at the food bank also teaches them how money can be used to help others in the community.

Older children or collectively as a family you can find organizations online where there is a need and get involved in helping out. Some that we recommend are:

World Wildlife Foundation – symbolic animal adoption program
World Vision Canada –sponsor a child
Plan Canada – gifts of hope catalogue
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada – gift catalogue and sponsor program

Schooling

         “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers" 
         (Proverbs 19:8).

Undoubtedly one of the primary reasons we choose to home school our children is to give them the best possible education. As our children grow and become teenagers they will begin to form ideas about what career path they would like to pursue. As parents we’ll be using this time to look into post-secondary education and what facilities exist to help them realize their dreams. It is wise to involve children in the process of saving for their education.

By starting early and saving a little money on a regular basis, children will build a solid foundation at having the finances needed to start them on the path to education towards their career goals.

The importance of an education is also reinforced by involving them in the saving process. If a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) has already been established for them, they can help contribute to their plan. You can find out more information about RESP’s and how the  government of Canada will contribute to your child’s education through the Canadian Education Savings Grant.

Jeanette Ramnarine is a mom, educator and award winning children’s book author. She is the CEO of Four Piggies Publishing which gives parents fun and creative tools to financially educate their children beginning at a young age. Jeanette has appeared on CBC radio, TVO kids and continues to share her message through speaking engagements and media interviews. Jeanette resides with her family in Belleville, Ontario. She can be reached at info@fourpiggies.com.

Originally published in the OCHEC Newsletter, Summer 2010.

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