How To Teach Your Kids About Money

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By Brett Gottlieb and John Mc Kean

If you’re a parent, you probably have a long list of character qualities and skills you want your child to develop before they’re one day out on their own. For some, that may include a solid work ethic and kindness; for others, it may be respect and responsibility. And while no one will argue the importance of these traits, financial literacy is a skill that could make or break your child’s success in their adult years.

Your kids are going to learn about money from someone. Don’t you want that someone to be you? If you don’t know where to start, here are some tips!

1. Be An Example

If you’ve spent any amount of time with children, you know that more is caught than taught. If you want your kids to grasp the importance of handling money wisely, you need to let them watch you make financial decisions and model what you want them to learn. 

The annual T Rowe Price Parents, Kids & Money survey shows that kids tend to pick up the good and bad financial habits of their parents. (1) If you spend money recklessly without a clear purpose, your kids will see that. If you rely on credit cards to cover expenses or argue with your spouse about finances, they’ll accept that behavior as the norm. Your actions set a precedent, so be intentional about how you model money management to your kids and let their watchful eyes be a motivator for you to change the negative financial habits you may have picked up.

2. Start The Conversation

Since many areas of personal finance aren’t visible, sometimes a silent model isn’t quite enough. That’s why it’s vital to start the money conversation now, because talking to your kids about money regularly leads to kids who are more financially literate. (2) This doesn’t have to be a long drawn-out discussion. Just let them in on your thinking and decisions as you go about life. So when you’re at the grocery store, explain why you buy the off-brand cereal instead of the name brand. When you’re at the bank, explain why the bank keeps your money and you only take what you need from the ATM. These real-world scenarios help cement the whys and hows of money in your child’s mind. 

And if you set the precedent of being open about finances now, while they are young, they are far more likely to keep coming to you for advice or assistance when they get older. 

3. Give Them Opportunities

For financial understanding to truly sink in, you need to let your kids experience their own successes and failures. On a practical level, give your five-year-old some money to buy something at the store so they learn the value of different items and realize that to obtain something (a toy), they have to exchange it with something else (money). Try letting your ten-year-old figure out the cost of the new video game she wants, plus tax, and help her save up her allowance for it. Let your teenager buy his back-to-school clothes on his own with a set amount of money. 

As your child earns money, have them split it between three jars: one for saving, one for spending, and one for sharing. When the savings jar fills up, take your child to the bank to open up an account. Let them take ownership of their money and give them opportunities to make mistakes while the stakes are still low.

We Are Here To Help

At the end of the day, you want what’s best for your child. But whether it’s implementing an allowance, putting money aside for college, or saving for other major milestones in your child’s life, it’s hard to know if you’re doing an adequate job. Most parents say they would take advantage of resources to help them teach their kids about money if they were available. (3)

We’d love for you to think of Comprehensive Advisor as that resource. To talk more about how we can help you set your kids up for success and save for your family’s future, contact our office today at (760) 813-2125 or email us at

About Brett and John

Brett Gottlieb is the founder of Comprehensive Advisor and a financial advisor with nearly two decades of industry experience. He graduated from California State University-Chico with two bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Economics. Brett is Life Insurance licensed in several states.

John Mc Kean, financial advisor, joined Comprehensive Advisor in 2016. He has been in the financial services and retirement planning industry for over six years. John is Life Insurance licensed in California.

Brett and John previously worked as Registered Representatives with Securities America, one of the largest independent broker/dealers in the country, and currently offer advisory services through AE Wealth Management, LLC. Both are passionate about educating clients on retirement planning. They take a common-sense approach to the planning process and work with clients to create a retirement road map to help ensure their assets are protected and they receive the income needed to enjoy their future. Based in Carlsbad, California, they work with clients throughout San Diego County. Learn more by connecting with Brett on LinkedIn or email them at

Investment advisory services offered only by duly registered individuals through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM). AEWM and Comprehensive Advisor are not affiliated companies. California Insurance Licenses #6000262 & #0K37445. Neither the firm nor its representatives may give tax or legal advice. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. 

This material is intended to provide general information and is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. 378638




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Investment Advisory services offered only by duly registered individuals through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM). Comprehensive Advisor and AEWM are not affiliated companies.

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