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Kids & Money

What Legacy Are You Leaving for Your Kids?

“You can’t take it with you when you die, so spend it all now.”

Maybe you’ve heard something like that said before. Basically, spend all your money now because you can’t take it to the grave!

But that type of thinking is so backward and selfish. What about your kids? What about your grandkids? What about your friends and other family members who need hope?

When you build wealth with the idea of helping and serving, you set yourself up to leave a legacy. What if you could buy a house for your kids when they get older? Or what if you could take the entire family—your kids, their spouses, your grandkids—on a vacation you paid for with cash? What if you could do that for your kids someday?

Don’t misunderstand. This isn’t about spoiling or enabling or catering to every single whim your kids have. I recently heard the story of an adult who wanted his aging mother to pick a cheaper nursing home in order to protect more of “his” inheritance. How terrible!

You know the type. They were born on third base and think they hit a triple! But leaving a legacy isn’t about that. It’s not about raising spoiled, bratty kids who don’t work and live off their parents until they’re 35.

This is about changing your family tree. It’s about changing how you think about money—rejecting the idea that debt is normal and embracing the idea that you can do things like pay cash for a car and even a house!

Start teaching these principles to your kids as early as you can. We have no problem teaching our kids how to drive safely, but we’ll send them out into the world without any idea how to manage money! That’s nuts! Related:How do I Teach My Kids About Money?

That doesn’t mean we have to beat them over the head with financial lectures. Remember, more is caught than taught. A lot of times when I was growing up, my mom and dad didn’t even realize they were teaching me anything. I just watched how they lived, worked, and managed their income, and those lessons became a part of me.

My parents taught me a work ethic. When we were teenagers, we all had jobs of some type—whether it was babysitting or working retail. When Truett Cathy’s (the founder of Chick-fil-A) kids were growing up, they worked around the restaurants, took out the trash, and even scraped gum off the bottom of tables.

Those are the types of things we need to teach our kids. That way, when they get older and receive their inheritance or step out into the world to make their own way, they will use their talents and resources wisely—like providing hope and allowing their kids to do things they were never able to do.

That’s how you change your family tree. That’s how you leave a legacy for generations to come. No, you can’t take it to the grave with you, but you can leave it behind to bless someone else.

Leaving a legacy matters. Learning how to teach kids about these important money principles is exactly what you can expect from the Smart Money Smart Kids class. Learn more at smartmoneysmartkids.com!

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  • That’s right Rachel. My wife and I are currently in a small 2 bedroom townhome with 2 small kids. We could buy a bigger house now but are choosing to delay gratification and save money for a huge downpayment. We talk about how this will be a good story to tell our grandkids someday.

  • CaroleH

    So important! Though we had plenty of money to spoil our kids, we reserved any indulgences for things the entire family could enjoy. Both worked and were expected to both save and spend mindfully. We considered it our parental duty to save as much as possible for their post-secondary education. For their part, we expected them to do well in school and be active so they could qualify for scholarships. Now that they are working adults, they are on their own and we are focused on filling out our retirement savings so we will not burden them in our golden years. We live a good life…with our eye on the future.

  • Carly

    Love your blog Rachel! Like you, I am expecting my first baby (yay!) .. would really love a blog (if you are looking for an idea and haven’t covered this already) on toys. I can’t stand when I see kids that have eeeeeeeeeverything. I feel like it just teaches them to be materialistic and not appreciate the value of things. I also worry about the environmental and of course, financial, consequences of materialism. And I also just have a fondness for the old days of making forts and playing outside with simple toys. Would love your thoughts!