Teaching your kids to manage their own money is one of the greatest gifts you could ever give them. We’ve created and fine-tuned The MoneySmart Kids system to be workable and flexible for you to use with your kids. It’s something that’s worked in our family for more than 19 years and it can work for you too! Watch the video or read the book – you’ll be amazed at how motivated and financially independent your kids can become.
Kids & Money Resources
The MoneySmart Family System
Teaching Financial Independence to Children of EVERY Age!
NY Times best-selling authors Steve and Annette Economides raised five kids and spent 77 percent less than the USDA estimated. And the money they did spend was also used to train their children to become financially independent.
The MoneySmart Family System will help you teach your children to manage money and have a good attitude while they’re learning to earn, budget and spend wisely.
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Parenting Insights from Authors Steve & Annette Economides
on how to raise MoneySmart Kids
What is the 5/50/500 Rule and why is it important?
The 5/50/500 money rule describes the escalating cost of a lesson that goes unlearned. Every age and stage of a child’s growth comes with expectations. If parents don’t learn how to train their children to stand financially independent at the $5 stage of life, they will be destined to fund an unending stream of $5 child demanded items until the price escalates to $50, then $500, and then $5000. The MoneySmart Family System teaches parents how to stop the consequences of the 5/50/500 rule.
What is The MoneySmart Family System?
The MoneySmart Family System is an award winning book describing how we used our MoneySmart Kids Financial Training System to train our five kids to be financially responsible and independent. We start at a young age, teaching them to earn, save, and spend their own money. At age 11 they start buying their own clothes. They buy Christmas gifts for others, pay for their own auto insurance, pay cash for their own cars, and fund much of their own college educations. Initially, they earn money from us and are responsible for managing it so that they can buy the things they need and want. Eventually, they get a part-time job and learn to manage even greater amounts of money. Because of The MoneySmart Family System, when they leave home, they have a practical working knowledge of personal finances and can survive in the real world, debt-free, and without bailouts from us.
Why do you think chores are an important part of childhood?
Chores are the gateway to a productive adulthood. Starting at three years old, children can help with tasks around the house and those tasks can be used to teach them real world working principles of diligence, timeliness, thoroughness and following instructions. Chores prepare a youngster to live independently and to grow to be smart money smart kids.
How do you teach your children to be grateful and generous?
Gratefulness comes as a result of having a desire fulfilled after waiting for it—basically delayed gratification satisfied. When children are indulged with lots of material possessions and never feel a need for anything they are cheated out of learning gratitude and basically become “spoiled brats.” We allowed our kids to wait for good things and helped them express their gratitude through writing thank you notes.
Why allowances don’t work.
Allowances don’t work for the same reason that government entitlement programs don’t work. Paying someone for doing nothing produces . . . nothing. Many parents spend gobs of money on their kids or repeatedly give them cash to spend. This is not what we would consider “money smart.” It’s so much better and more rewarding to our kids to allow them to earn the money from you and then learn to manage it — that is money smart. They’ll develop a sense of pride and self-sufficiency, instead of a sense of entitlement and selfishness.
At what age do your kids start buying their own clothes and why?
In The MoneySmart Family System, initially our kids are responsible for dividing up any money they earn into three categories: Giving, Saving and Spending. Between the ages of 9 and 11 we give them a raise and the additional responsibility of purchasing all of their own clothing. It’s a real world responsibility and they love shouldering it, and wearing it.
How much does it cost to raise MoneySmart kids?
The USDA calculates that it will cost the average parent $261,000 to raise a child from infancy to the age of 17. We calculated that it cost us 77 percent less than the USDA experts predicted. We spent $1 million less raising our 5 MoneySmart kids than the USDA predicted.
What miscellaneous expenses should children be responsible for?
As kids grow, their “wanters” are programmed to crave the latest and greatest of everything—things like trendy toys, extreme recreational activities, the latest techno-devices, costly cosmetics, and sporty sunglasses. When our kids use their own money to make discretionary purchases they have a deeper sense of appreciation and take much better care of the item.
Why do you think that every teen ought to work a part time job?
Every adult has to juggle numerous roles; employee, boss, parent, spouse, child, etc. Allowing our teens to think that living at home while going to school is their only job is totally unrealistic. Learning to balance the priorities of work, school, extra curricular activities and relationships are all things a maturing young adult must be taught to manage. Allowing our kids to start this learning process while they’re still at home is much more beneficial than simply pushing them out of the nest and expecting them to fly.
Why shouldn’t you buy your child a car?
Parents shouldn’t buy their kids cars because it robs them of the opportunity to set, save, and reach a monumental goal on their own. Financial independence is a muscle that needs to be strengthened one dollar and one goal at a time. For our kids, as they matured and grew more capable in their money handling skills, buying a car was a natural outgrowth.
But, if you are determined to give your child a car, read how this dad of 12 kids did it. Every one of his kids received a car, but it was given in a very unusual and moneysmart way!
Can kids earn a college education without debt?
Scholarships are plentiful and aren’t only for academic excellence. In the book we share how we helped our kids build great high school resumes that enabled them to win lots of scholarship money and opened many university doors.
How should you respond to your adult children when they need help with a financial problem?
When adult children experience financial problems, parents must respond with practical ways to help them grow financially. A cash bailout is like applying a band-aid to a broken leg—it simply doesn’t solve the problem. Families should be a safety net for their grown kids, but not a crutch.
What is the rich kid syndrome and why should parents be concerned?
Parents who indulge their children handicap them for life. Many well-meaning parents are creating financially co-dependent children by giving them material things or money, instead of teaching them to work for what they want. The “rich kid syndrome” builds unrealistic expectations in young adults and can destroy marriages and families. Money Smart parents enable their children to live on their own earnings.