Setting a Good Financial Example
September 1999

“Setting a Good Financial Example,” Ensign, Sept. 1999, 71

Setting a Good Financial Example

What financial messages are you sending your children? Is your advice supported by your example? To see how well you are doing, consider the following questions:

  1. Does my family attend tithing settlement together? Your positive answers to the bishop’s questions may leave lasting impressions on family members.

  2. Are we honest in our financial dealings? While family members don’t see every financial transaction we make, they do observe many of them. For example, what do we do when a store clerk overlooks an item and doesn’t charge us for it? Do we seek to make an immediate correction?

  3. Do we contribute to a savings account? By watching parents save for larger purchases, children can learn that it is possible to obtain even expensive items without going into debt for them.

  4. Do we share with those who are less fortunate? Children learn important attitudes toward giving by seeing generous payment of fast offerings and contributions to charity; also, an occasional anonymous gift to someone in need helps children find the joy in giving.

  5. Do we use credit wisely? Is credit used to finance impulsive purchases and luxuries? The seeds of materialism are sown when credit is used to satisfy whims. Credit card debt also burdens budgets and places extra strain on family relationships.

  6. Do I avoid quarreling with my spouse about money? Angry words send negative messages to children.

  7. Do we help our children plan for missions and education? It is important for children to know what financial responsibilities we expect them to assume during their young adult years.

  8. Do we include our children in some budget decisions? Allowing family members to observe parents as they discuss family finances not only teaches them about money management but also allows them an opportunity to voice opinions and become involved in the process.

  9. Do we avoid using money to compensate for not spending enough time with our children? Substituting gifts for parental involvement encourages materialism and may confuse children about the difference between love and money.

  10. Do we encourage our teenagers to open a checking account before they leave home? As children grow up, they benefit from stepping into the adult world of finances while they still have a parental safety net to help them learn about checking accounts, debit cards, and the uses of credit.—Jerry Mason, Lubbock, Texas

Illustrated by Beth M. Whittaker