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I recently spoke at the spring conference for the National Print Owners Association in Fort Lauderdale. Instead of presenting a “normal” marketing ideas seminar, I chose instead to discuss my personal philosophy, as well as the habits and core values that served as the foundation for building my successful business. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if my seminar would be well-received because I knew it might not be what the attendees were expecting. However, the seminar evaluations and positive feedback I’ve received have far surpassed anything I’ve experienced before. Many, many printers told me how much they benefited by learning how I did things “behind the scenes” and “underneath it all.”
Today’s blog is another of the ideas I shared in that seminar. I hope you find my ideas about how to teach our children to manage money helpful.
From the time my two daughters were toddlers, I wanted them to think like businesspeople. I never ask them “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Instead, I would ask “What kind of business do you want to own when you grow up?” As parents, Jenny and I did everything we could to teach our daughters to think being a business owner and/or an entrepreneur was a normal and expected thing.
Since all of you are busy, I will share my ideas about why we gave our children jobs, not allowances — and how we taught them to understand the value and importance of money at a young age.
- We often told our children that “profits are better than wages.”
- We don’t give our kids an allowance. We give them jobs around the house that are income-producing opportunities.
- Virtually every task and chore we ask our kids to do results in them getting paid something. Making their beds gives them a “profit” of twenty five cents, while cleaning the entire house on Saturday morning results in a $26.00 profit.
- Each month, each of our children has a chance to earn between $150 and $300. Some months, the potential is as high as $400.
- We also pay our kids $.05 per page for reading books that are preapproved by Mom or Dad. As a result, last year during summer vacation, my youngest daughter read 26 different books.
- As parents, we provide the basic necessities like food, clothing, and shelter, but we provide very few luxuries or extravagances.
- Our kids use their income to purchase things like Starbucks, cell phones, movie tickets, extra clothes or designer jeans, and candy or treats.
- Each of my daughters, at age 13, had their own checkbook, debit card, and bank savings account. We’ve also taught them how to reconcile those accounts.
- When each of them had saved $2000.00, we took them to Edward Jones and had them meet with a stock broker, who opened an investment account for them and taught them how to buy and sell stocks. Today, after three years, one of their accounts is worth $2600+, while the other account is worth $2300+. As parents, we don’t suggest which stocks or mutual funds to invest in — that’s between them and their broker.
- Also at the age of 13, we started to have each of our daughters file an annual tax return, because we wanted them to realize early in life that everyone needs to pay taxes.
As a result of this type of financial education, our daughters, at a very young age, have a much greater appreciation for nice things, and they don’t spend money foolishly — because they understand how much effort it takes to earn it.
There are very few entitlements in the Stevens family. We wanted our children to grow up with the basic appreciation that if you want something, you have to earn the money to pay for it. We wanted to teach them a good work ethic. We wanted them to think like businesspeople.
Someday, they may live long and happy lives as stay-at-home moms, or they may choose to try to become the CEO of General Electric. Either way, we have tried to prepare them, in advance, to understand basic financial planning.
It’s also made our daughters understand that things like paying $5 for a cup of coffee at Starbucks might not be a good use of their hard-earned money.
I hope you find these ideas helpful as you teach your own children to understand how money works.
My name is Mike Stevens, and I am a printer.