Budgeting For the Whole Family

Family Budgeting Teaching kids about money is only one element of parenting.  But it’s part of a whole package.  Everyone – including parents and including kids – is going to have strengths and weaknesses.  We all grow as individuals if we can build on our strengths and do our best to mitigate our weaknesses.  Children need parenting that helps them do this.

So if your child is doing well with managing the budget you give her for auto fuel, but she’s flunking algebra, make sure all the parenting pieces are fitting together well.  Do you need an algebra tutor or just the motivation for studying is in place?  Financial lessons needs to make logical sense.  For instance, parents need to be careful about “paying” for grades.  It might send the message that academic achievement will automatically bring financial rewards.  As any public school teacher who had a brilliant academic career can tell you, that’s not necessarily the case.  And yet a teenager’s primary job is generally agreed to be to get an education and find out enough about what her passion in life is to build a career.  So if working hard enough on grades is worthy of some financial support from parents, that’s worthwhile.

As a parent of three teenagers, every once in a while I have to take a couple of steps back and ask myself, “Is it realistic that this child of mine who’s making me crazy right now should get a clothing allowance?”  If all the pieces aren’t fitting together for comprehensive responsible parenting, reassess.  And when you do reassess, remember that parenting isn’t about making your kids into clones of you.  It’s about helping them find who they are and maximize their sense of responsibility.

Image by: Kathryn Skaggs

About the author

Linda Y. Leitz, CFP®, EA, CDFA

Linda Y. Leitz is a fee-only Certified Financial Planner™ and has been in the financial industry since 1979. She is also enrolled to practice before the Internal Revenue Service. Before becoming a financial professional, Linda held several executive positions in the banking industry. She began her career as a bank examiner. Linda has a BBA in Business Administration from Principia College and an MBA from Southern Methodist University.
As a fee-only financial planner Linda is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, the Financial Planning Association, the National Association of Tax Professionals and the Alliance of Cambridge Advisors. As a leader in the financial planning industry, Linda is the author of the book titled "The Ultimate Parenting Map to Money Smart Kids". She has been quoted in several national publications including the Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, and Morningstar Advisor and she has appeared on CSNBC. She also works as a volunteer instructor to new financial advisors with the Alliance of Cambridge Advisors.

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