Most people want their kids to emulate them in some way: to have their hair color, to have their honesty, to have their drive. However, few people want their kids to grow up and to go into debt, buy whatever their friends have, or spend like there’s no tomorrow. Although most parents try to teach their children good manners, proper hygiene, and even how to succeed in the work world, many also ignore or neglect to properly teach their kids about money.
Even with the best intentions, parents may be teaching their kids one thing about money but showing them something else. Whether you teach them about money or they learn by watching you, your kids may pick up habits you would rather they not hold on to. You may in fact unknowingly be teaching your kids the wrong money lessons by making poor decisions yourself, or by encouraging them to be frivolous with money. Here are five habits you should avoid passing on.
1. The budget doesn’t matter
According to Citi, in a national survey of 1,500 parents, 70 percent of parents reported that their kids learn about money by watching them and 59 percent by talking about money together. The top activities that parents use to teach their children about money include going to the bank (60 percent), discussing what they can and cannot afford (58 percent), and setting up bank accounts for their kids (53 percent.) All of these activities are a great way to teach children about money, but even if you participate in these activities with your kids, you still might be teaching them other poor habits.
One of the worst lessons you can teach your kids is that your budget doesn’t matter. If you talk about what you can afford but then you regularly purchase something outside of your budget or make impulse purchases, it won’t matter that you discussed whether or not you could afford it. Your kids will learn that it’s OK to spend money even when they don’t have it. This can result in regularly disregarding a budget and possibly even getting into heavy debt.