By Vicki Brown
Being in debt is acceptable in today’s Western culture. But debt often creates stress, causes arguments and can lead to divorce or bankruptcy. At the least, it can stymie plans and create a barrier to serving God.
You can help your children avoid the debt trap by teaching them the value of money, money management and planning strategies.
Here are 10 tips to get you started:
• Teach children about money issues from a biblical perspective. What does the Bible say about giving and tithing? What is stewardship? Does the Bible provide advice on planning for the future?
• Plan directed shopping trips for clothing or other items, particularly for younger children. Set a dollar amount and let the child determine how to spend it.
• Give children an allowance or provide a means for them to earn money.
• Help your child develop a plan to save. Use incentives such as teaching your child to save for a toy or gadget he or she wants. As a child matures, teach him or her different forms of saving and investing.
• Require the child to contribute to the family in some way. A child could be responsible for purchasing something, such as buying some of his or her clothing. Or she or he could be required to contribute a set amount to help offset a recurring bill, such as cable service.
• Teach what borrowing means. Family Credit Counseling Service (www.familycredit.org) suggests allowing your children to borrow money from you. Set up the loan as a financial institution would, including an interest rate — low, of course. Structure a payment schedule and stick to it.
• Involve missions. Plan a family mission project and instruct children to save for it.
• Allow a child to start a “business.” Middle and high school students could develop a business based on a chore. Mowing lawns and babysitting have been longtime staples. Students also could consider washing dogs and pet- or house-sitting.
• Allow your child to make mistakes.
• Be an example.