Updated: Jul 15, 2019
I get asked all the time how to best instill good values about money in kids. My response, as with almost all parenting matters, is: Quit parenting, Start modeling! The first question is whether or not YOU have good values about money. What does that question even mean? Responsibility with money? Sure.
But, that's not all. Money is a hot-button issue for many of us, and our mindset and emotions often get mixed around in there too. Our feelings about money, the energy we have when dealing with money, the way we interpret and use money - these things are also being transmitted to our kids as they watch us stress about paying bills, deny ourselves certain things, bargain shop, talk about other people, lust after expensive purchases, or have buyers' remorse.
Once again we are faced with the unpleasant reality that if we want our children to develop a healthy relationship with money, we first need to heal ourselves. I'll give you an example from my own past. I ran my doula and childbirth education business for 7 years without any business knowledge or training. I never made more than a few thousand dollars per year, even though I was well-respected and booked-up most of the time. I wanted to get help with marketing or training on how to run my business, but I felt like I couldn't justify it because I wasn't making enough money.
I had a little mantra in my head that as long as my business didn't cost our family money, I would be 'allowed' to do it. Like my business was a little hobby I did and I should just be grateful that I was allowed to have something in my life beyond motherhood.
Deep down, I wanted it to be a successful business, but I didn't feel worthy of the investment it would take. Even though we had enough money to get me business coaching, I felt like it wasn't my 'right' to use that money because my business didn't count and didn't earn it. That kind of thinking was so backward, because it the only way my business would ever make money was if I invested money into learning how to make it better.
My husband finally talked me into giving it a try and I had paid for my coaching twice over within a year. That was more money than I had made in all the 7 previous years combined! I'll be talking about this specifically as it pertains to business-owning moms in the free Mompreneur Masterclass I'm leading this week with my partner, Samantha Siffring.
Now I see this kind of thinking all the time in parents, about loads of thing that might have nothing to do with business. Like, investing in help around the house so they can be free to spend time with their kids, take time to shop and cook more frugally, etc. Or getting some childcare to enable relationship and me-time that can transform the family dynamics. Sometimes it's the focus on the investment over the return that keeps us stuck, or it's a story we tell ourselves about what it means about us if we spend money a certain way or have a certain thing.
Think about whether your money choices and the way you talk about money really reflects your values and who you are. It's very important to model money responsibility to our children, of course. But they way we invest our money is also one way we demonstrate to our children how we value ourselves, our family, the things that are important and that it isn't just a necessary evil, but also a tool that can enhance our experiences and enjoyment of life.
This week I'll be talking about money mindset in the group - for business owners, working moms and stay-at-home moms. Our attitudes about money affect us no matter what our career landscape looks like, and they are definitely affecting our kids too.