Would you rather your child be a spender or saver? Don’t answer that because there’s really no “right” answer. In this excerpt from Dave and Rachel’s book Smart Money Smart Kids, Rachel explains how to parent a child who is a spender or saver.
Parents, here’s a shocker for you: Kids are different. They’re unique and act in ways that may not make any sense at all. As your kids grow up, you get the amazing opportunity of watching their little personalities develop. You also get to watch them interact with money. You’ll find out pretty quickly whether they are a natural spender or a natural saver. Maybe you read that line and immediately realized that your child is a spender. You might be thinking, Oh no! I have a spender! She’ll never amount to anything and will live in my house the rest of her life! I’m the world’s worst parent to have created a little spending monster!
Okay, take a deep breath, dramatic parents. There’s nothing wrong with being a spender. You can take my word for it too, because I’m a pretty responsible adult—but I’m definitely a natural spender.
Use the best tools to teach your kids about money.
I was the kid who couldn’t leave the grocery store without a pack of gum or get out of Target without a Slinky or some other little toy simply because I had a dollar in my pocket. If I had any money marked for spending, trust me, I spent it—fast. I’ve always enjoyed the act of spending money. Now, as an adult, that doesn’t mean I’m impulsive or irresponsible; it merely means that I’ve had to recognize that truth about myself and learn how to become a responsible spender. Yes, there is such a thing as a “responsible spender”!
I really want to stress the fact that there’s nothing “right” about being a saver, and there’s nothing “wrong” with being a spender. This book is absolutely not about how to change your little spender into a saver. The goal is to recognize who God uniquely created him to be and to teach him how to handle money, no matter what kind of personality he has. If he’s a spender, then let’s teach him how to be a wise spender (who can also learn to save money). If he’s a saver, then let’s teach him how be a wise saver (who can learn to spend money).
Let’s face it—there are pros and cons to both sides here. Spenders tend to be incredibly generous people, probably because they aren’t that concerned with holding on to their money. But spenders can also make impulsive decisions and end up with nothing to show for their hard work. Savers, on the other hand, tend to be naturally patient and more responsible, but they can also become stingy and have trouble spending—or giving—a dime. That’s no way to live either! Bottom line: If you have a spender, that’s okay; and if you have a saver, that’s okay. Neither is better or worse than the other. But it is important to figure out which type of money personality your child has and direct him toward wise decisions and money habits that are right for him.