Expert Tips on Motivating Kids with Money

Posted on 05/09/2014

Rewarding children with extra TV time, ice cream or cold hard cash can backfire, say experts. But at the same time kids need to learn key lessons about the value of hard work and managing money. The National Foundation of Credit Counseling found that 64% of Americans couldn't pay for a $1,000 emergency with cash. Another study found that one in four Americans have nothing in savings. Teaching your children about finances at a young age will serve them well for years to come so consider these expert tips for motivating kids with money.

Reward Hard Work
Financial expert and bestselling author Dave Ramsey says his kids never got an allowance. Instead they received a "commission." A commission connects hard work with money and receiving it isn't simply a given. Ramsey suggests that parents make kids work for their money, even as young as age three. By doing this you will put an early stop to feelings of entitlement and help give them a sense of accomplishment when they purchase things with hard-earned cash.

Be Careful What You Pay For
If you're considering paying your kids for the good grades they receive on their report card you may want to think again. According to the Journal of Educational Psychology, paying kids for grades only works for a small percentage of students. And it can send the wrong message about the role of education in their lives.

Make it Visual
Kids are often motivated by what they can see. Make their money lesson visual with a Moonjar Moneybox, $7.95 at The kit shows kids how to plan for the future by dividing their earnings into three categories: save, spend and share. Another option is the Money Savvy Piggy Bank which stores change in four sections: save, spend, donate and invest. Pick one up at for $19.99.

Offer to Match
Are your kids saving up for something big like a vacation or a car? Offer to match them penny for penny, giving them extra incentive to work hard, even if they are just earning minimum wage. When they know that they can get more bang for their buck they'll be more likely to maintain a strong work ethic.

Show the Benefits of Giving
You don't have to look very hard to find self-centered and selfish kids. But, teaching your kids to be good givers teaches them to be good people. Show them this important part of being good stewards with their finances by letting them witness you giving to others. Once they understand how good it feels to share their money with others they'll be even more motivated to give.

By Alison Storm

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