Teaching Kids Financial Responsibility


The contents of my daughter’s purse. I don’t think I have to worry about a spending spree anytime soon.

Last week I ended my work week with a 16-year-old patient. She came in to see me for the first time in almost two years. I was honestly shocked at the state of her teeth (something that is hard to do to me). The few areas we had been keeping a close eye on in the previous few years, we’re now massive cavities. Cavities so large that even a root canal treatment wouldn’t save them. At 16 she was looking at heavy dose of antibiotics, two to three extractions (major sad face) and nine fillings. All of these, 100% preventable.

I couldn’t be nice to her anymore. I needed to be firm and have her understand how serious this was and for me to figure out how, and why, this happened.

Teeth don’t die a natural death, we kill them.

I took time to explain, in a lot of detail, what’s going on, why it’s going on, and stress the gravity of it all. I then look to her for a mature series of answers. I get nothing.

She immediately places blame on us (the dental office) for not getting her in sooner (we’ve called her 11 times in last 18 months), then tells us it’s not her fault because it’s her moms responsibility to get her to her appointments (she lives within walking distance to the office) and continues on with a line of answers that leave me frustrated and deflated. She took zero ownership for what was going on in her mouth. Every issue was someone else’s fault and her lack of maturity left me with no option but to call her mom, give her the detail and let her deal with it since I was at my limit for what I could do for her.

At 16 she should, 100% be taking responsibility for her own actions especially when it comes to something like her body and heath. This situation scares me for how much lack of responsibility if actually out there in our young kids.

I think financial responsibility is one of the most important nuggets of knowledge we can teach our kids. I honestly think if I can raise my daughter to be confident, polite and responsible for her actions in life, I will have succeeded as a parent. With responsibility in life, financial responsibility is a major factor.

Whether we like it or not, money rules the world. We rely on it to live and when not used responsibly it gets us in big trouble. We as parents have a major responsibility to teach our kids how to handle all sorts of different financial situations. I tell my patients all the time it’s my job to give them the information, it’s up to them to do with it as they please. Same with lessons I teach my daughter. When it comes to money I will do my best to show her the way, teach her lessons and give her all the information I have. It will be 100% her responsibility to use this information properly.

I expect mistakes. I expect financial mishaps, this is how we learn but I hope she does it while living in the comfort and protection of our home. It’s never too early to start. At the age of three, we’re already trying to have her understand money. We’re starting with basic concepts right now- what money is and why we need it. Every day she asks why we need to go to work and we explain one of the main reasons is that mommy and daddy need to earn money. When she gets into my purse and pulls my wallet out- she always asks if she can ”have some monies for her piggy bank” to which I usually give her. I hand over a few small coins and tell her what they are.

I find sometimes we’re too quick to bombard our kids with info and in turn they ignore what we’re trying to teach them. If we start slow and build a foundation they will be much more receptive of information. Money isn’t a topic that can be taken lightly. We as parents worry about so much: sex, drugs, social media, avoid strangers that money often fails as a topic but don’t let it! Your kids will thank you.

How do/will you teach your kids about money?

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  1. My parents never talked to me about money, or budgeting or saving. I was never privy to their financial affairs. However, they certainly taught me to take good care of myself and my things, with a bigger understanding of value. Keep your nice things nice, they don’t grow on trees. My clothing, books, electronics were (still are) in impeccable condition. Kids who destroyed their books or xboxes I’ve never understood. And same for my health and well-being. Beyond the scope of money, these things deserve care and respect.

  2. ah! I would pass out if I had to look a mouth that bad, how do you do it?! I’m so curious about you job, what are the worst cases you’ve seen??
    to your question though… I’m not sure how I will teach future kidlets the value money and responsibility… might let them do trial and error, lecturing, allowance-giving, chore charts… I think I will have to decide when it’s time. I do want them to be kids who can sit down and calculate out the price of something they want, like, if they want a video game console, they will have to price out how much it is, include the tax, cost and tax for add-ons, etc., and figure out how many lawns to mow it will take to save up all the money. I wish my parents did that for us all we had to do was ask, justify why and we received, mind you, if we broke or lost something, we were devastated and didn’t get a replacement item.

  3. I teach my kids about financial responsibility. This started when my elder kid asked a question on money and that’s the time I gave her some wisdom on budgeting and savings. I opened her a savings account. She pretty likes it and is encouraged to save more. For parents, just handle this situation well because finances is a delicate topic to kids.


  1. […] from Plunged in Debt reminded us of the importance of Teaching Kids Financial Responsibility. I believe helping kids build a healthy relationship with money where they learn to make confident […]

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