This is a basic Biblical principle, and it is never too early to start tithing! Tithing confirms to children that God is our Provider, and also teaches obedience. Most Sunday school classes, even at the preschool level provide opportunities for children to give.
When you feel your child is old enough, find some odd jobs he/she can do around the house to earn an allowance. Many young adults today lack a solid work ethic, because working is a relatively new concept for them. It is important for kids to realize that you can be paid for a hard day's work. Besides the benefits of learning a solid work ethic, you may find your children and teenagers are more careful about spending their own hard earned dollars than mom's and dad's.
Saving is an important concept for children to learn about planning ahead. Whether it's saving for college, a new bike, or new clothes does not matter. Large purchases require thoughtful planning. Through saving, you can also teach a great deal about discipline and short-term sacrifice for long term gain.
Just as a teenager has to drive for a year with an adult before they go out on their own, the same should be true with a checking account. You may assume they will learn how to handle a checking account at school, but this is rarely the case. This is a skill that should be taught under your supervision before the child goes away to college. Every bank has different rules about the ages of those who can open an account and they may require a parent on the account. Have the child fill out the application and speak with the clerk at the bank. Be available if you are needed, but allow the child to open the account. This is a life skill that he/she will draw upon many times in the future. Train him/her to write everything down, and to balance the checkbook every month.
Debt is a negative word, but credit is not. In order to buy cars and houses as adults, we all have to develop a positive credit record. The teen years are a good time to learn how to properly handle credit, before the kids leave home. Learning under your supervision for a year or two is far better than learning on a college campus where credit card applications are readily available and often get young adults started in a wave of debt that they can not seem to surface from. This is a great time to teach kids about interest rates and how much they add to a purchase over time.
God has entrusted us with special gifts - children to raise, teach, and nurture. Don't let learning about money fall by the wayside. Learning how to properly handle money is a life lesson and a spiritual lesson all wrapped up into one.
Denise Craig, Chief Financial Officer
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