Financial 'Gurus' Offer Advice To Teach Your Kids

Tuesday, February 3rd 2015, 12:03 am
By: Craig Day

News on 6 is working on stories to seriously save you money. They're topics to help your family's finances, including the best ways to pass along good money skills to children.

For straight talk on financial matters you go to Dave Ramsey, but we also talked to his daughter, Rachel Cruz, who is also an expert on how parents should teach money skills to children.

She said no matter their age, it's never too late.

When Bret and Tiffany Gunther got married, getting on the same page about finances was a high priority.

"It allowed us to walk into the marriage with the same concept of what money is, what it means and how we can communicate best about it," Bret said.

The couple wants to teach those lessons to their children, 2-year-old Crosby, 3-and-a-half year old Emery, and Bret's 16-year-old daughter, Rachel.

"Now she's at an age where she really does understand what money is," Bret said.

Rachel works a few days each week in an elementary after school program; just enough to still focus on school, but make extra money.

"I save most of my paychecks that I get," Rachel Gunther said.

The little ones are still young, but it's never too early to form good habits; and for mom and dad to look for teachable moments.

"Our daughter, if she says I want this or I want that, I do try to say we're not going to do that now, maybe next time," Tiffany said.

It's exactly the thing national radio host and financial expert Dave Ramsey said parents should do.

"Most things with kids, if you start it early, then it's a lot easier when they're older," he said.

Ramsey taught the same skills to his daughter and the two have co-authored a book called Smart Money, Smart Kids.

"No one wants to talk about it. And parents are a little intimidated by the subject when teaching their kids," Cruz said.

In addition to the book, like her dad, Cruz is taking the message nationwide, focusing mostly on parents passing good money habits to children.

"You're not going to teach your 5-year-old, the same way your 15-year-old,” she said.

The Gunthers' are off to a great start.

When their children get a little older, Cruz recommends giving them a few small, age appropriate chores to earn extra money to put in their piggy bank.

"This is not sitting down with them and having a mutual fund summit," Cruz said. "Very, very, very basic things, maybe two or three things they do."

Like putting clothes or dishes away, or picking up toys.

Cruz said to pay them instantly, making a big deal out of it, so they learn the connection that pay comes from work.

"Money comes from work. It doesn't come from mom and dad's back pockets," she said.

For kids a few years older, Cruz and Ramsey recommend stepping up extra things they can do around the house to earn money.

"When your kids, they earn their own money, they treat it differently," said Cruz.

Later, they said it's good to get teens a checking account with parents depositing the amount of money they'd normally spend on the child.

"Throughout the month, they're in charge of their money. So if school fees come up, if they need gas for their car, if they need clothes, whatever it is, they have this money in this checking account. And when the money is gone, it's gone," Cruz said.

Ramsey also encourages teenagers to get a job outside of the house.

"You do, do a child a tremendous disservice, in a sense a type of abuse and type of neglect, by not teaching them to work," he said.

With her paychecks, Rachel Gunther is on the right track, with goals for a car and more.

"Extra money to go towards college, so then extra money to spend here and there if that's what I want,” she said.

It's the same lesson Ramsey teaches his radio listeners, and in his financial peace university classes. To avoid debt, and money earned should go to three areas: giving, saving and spending.

"They're going to model what they see you doing more than they're going to learn something intellectually and just shift away from the culture of the family," Ramsey said.

While the Gunthers are on a slightly different plan than Ramsey's, it's very similar.

Bret and Tiffany hope to raise kids who are smart about money, who can later use their money to make a difference in the lives of others who aren't as fortunate.

"Help them to lead a much calmer life, and a much more driven life, and that they are the ones in control and not the checkbook," Bret said.

Ramsey and Cruz also said money problems are the number one cause of divorce, so by teaching children good money skills early, it can help in that area of their life later.