By Guy Hatcher, Crosswalk.com
Have you ever heard the saying, “If you don’t manage your money well, your money manages you?” The truth is, how we manage our money speaks to how well we manage our life. It comes down to stewardship and being responsible with the blessings God has entrusted to us.
We often try to blame others (the government, politics, church, family responsibilities) for our failure to properly manage our finances. When we don’t manage well what God has entrusted to us, it negatively impacts the lives of those closest to us. And it often leaves us with feelings of failure, shame, and guilt.
It doesn’t have to be this way. By taking ownership of our past financial mistakes or missteps, we can move forward and establish strong financial principles that will better help us manage our finances well and will lead to a more successful future. This also gives you the opportunity to model financial responsibility to your children.
What are you doing now to build and pass forward a strong financial legacy? Are you building a legacy of debt or the opportunity for future generations to have a brighter future because of your diligence and wisdom in how you manage your money and life?
If you’ve been a parent or around children, then you know they learn more by what they see you do, and less by what you tell them to do. So think about what your children are learning from your habits and behaviors with regard to money. Will they feel entitled to receive high salaries and promotions or will they strive for excellence in everything they do?
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6).
As parents, we do want our children to live better than we have. However, flooding them with material possessions and giving in to their every whim does not create a better future for them. In fact, it has quite the opposite effect.
So how do you raise children in the way they should go and instill good fiscal responsibility into their way of life? You can start with using the suggestions below while remembering to first demonstrate this principles yourself.
1. Begin with your choice of words.
When expenditures are presented that are not within the family’s means, it is better so say, “we choose not to spend our money that way,” instead of, “we can’t afford that.” This puts the focus on wise choices and what we do have, instead of what we lack.
2. Teach them to work for the things they want.
They won't think anything about you purchasing a dime-store trinket for them, but they may think twice about spending their only three dollars on it.
3. Involve the whole family in budgeting discussions.
Have a monthly budget meeting for the entire family and set-up an allowance schedule based on their help around the house and the responsibility they take for the household. Allow them to have a choice in how money is spent with things that concern them like activities, movies, birthday parties and clothing.
4. Live by and teach the 10/10/80 rule.
10% is given back to God through tithes, 10% is put into savings, and 80% is for current needs.
By managing your finances well and teaching your children to manage their finances well, you are living out a godly legacy. The discipline you exemplify through your financial and life choices will impact future generations, so choose wisely. Remember, our children watch what we do more than they listen to what we say. Action drives Results. Live a reflection of who you want your children to be.
Guy Hatcher: The Legacy Guy® – is passionate about helping families plan their legacy. His book, Your Future Reflection: How to Leave a Legacy Beyond Money, is available at amazon.com. Follow him on twitter @guyhatcher or contact him at www.guyhatcher.com
Publication date: April 22, 2015