The Money Beliefs of Financially Intelligent Parents

This article describes the ways in which parents' attitudes toward money affect their children.

We all want to raise kids who are happy and successful, but we often mistakenly think that money is the key to that happiness and success. In fact, the amount of money parents possess has little to do with how children turn out. The attitudes and actions of parents around money issues, though, have a tremendous effect.

On the positive side, parents who exhibit healthy money behaviors communicate strong values to their children. When parents talk openly and constructively about financial issues, avoid engaging in frequent money battles and use their financial resources to help the disadvantaged, children learn lessons about respect, love and giving.

On the negative side, "bad" money behaviors can inadvertently distort the values parents want to communicate; they also make their children tremendously unhappy. Repeated fights about money may communicate to kids that money isn't worth having because it is the cause of anger, hostility, resentment and tension. When parents are workaholics who are rarely home, they communicate that making money and supporting an affluent lifestyle are more important than having meaningful family time.

Financially intelligent parents know how to emphasize the positive impact and minimize the negative one. They understand that money itself is neither good nor bad; it's what they do with it and what they teach their children about it that are important. Becoming this type of parent is a function of awareness and effort. You need to be aware of the beliefs and practices that define financially intelligent parenting and then resolve to translate this awareness into action.

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