How to Teach Your Children to Secure Their Own Future

Each child is hard-wired differently. Some may have a natural drive to succeed in school, some may need more incentive to get there. 

Is it worth some “tough love” to teach them the importance of securing their own future? Today’s teachable moment will help answer that.

Today we are joined by my friend and fellow Dave Ramsey-trained financial coach, Kim. She is our first contributor to share a story about her children at the collegiate level. 

This is a powerful example of following God’s guidance and helping a child realize (for himself) the consequences of his actions.

I can’t wait for you to read it.

Please tell us a little about yourself

My name is Kim.  I’ve been married for 31 years. Our children are 31 and 26. We have 4 grandchildren ages 6, and 4, and twins at 19 mos.

We own a construction/general contracting company and I am a Financial Coach.

What teachable moment would you like to share?

A teachable money moment was with our son when college was getting close. We had paid for our daughter’s college as we didn’t want her carrying student loans and entering marriage with debt. 

We could afford it & she was diligent in school so we felt good about helping her in that way.

Our son, however, wasn’t as compelled to make school a priority.  He wanted to play soccer, with his studies being secondary.

After pondering for days how to handle the financial aspect of his schooling, one morning in the shower I prayed and asked God to give us a way to be helpful, yet challenging to him. 

Almost immediately it came to me: have him pay up front and we would reimburse him for any classes where he made a ‘C’ or above.

So if he made D’s or F’s, the cost was on him. I bounced it off my husband & he thought it was a great plan.

A day or two later I approached our son, then nearly 19 yrs. old, and shared the “plan”. His first response was,

“How come you didn’t do that for Mandy?”

I replied,

“We didn’t have to be concerned about Mandy’s grades, her attending class or doing her homework.”

To which he promptly retorted,

“You have a point”.

We laughed & chatted about how he could literally earn every penny back if he applied himself & didn’t mess around.

His freshman year proved us wise in using this God-given plan. He flunked one class and got a ‘D’ in another. 

Fortunately, because he was attending community college, the cost wasn’t out of control. The next year was better with a ‘W’ in one course, which again he was responsible for.

What was the most rewarding part of the experience?:

A few years later came the most rewarding part: We are happy to report his 2.7 GPA at the end of his sophomore year. changed to a 3.75 GPA in his 5th and final year. 

He also earned a place on the Dean’s List.

What was the most challenging part of the experience?

The most challenging part was to enforce what we had laid out in the plan.

There were some lessons for all of us through doing it differently for him:

  • Our son was accountable, and he was the determining factor of how much he/we would pay.
  • We learned once again to ask God for direction, wisdom and specific revelations.
  • Our kids often need different approaches to instil important values.

If you enjoyed this teachable moment by Kim, head over to her coaching page on Facebook, check out the great content and give it a great big “like”!

This article is part of an ongoing series called “Teaching Your Children About Money”.  If you have a teachable moment to share, please feel free to tell me about it at lauraharris(at)piggybankdreams(dot)com.

Join the Discussion:  Name a time when some “tough love” helped shape you into a better person (as a child or an adult). 

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9 thoughts on “How to Teach Your Children to Secure Their Own Future

  1. I think it’s great that you realized how differently your kids needed to be treated. I am one of five kids, and every single one of us has had college covered by our parents/grandparents but with totally different stipulations. I think teaching kids the way they will learn is so important. Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a great approach! I find it difficult to apply different methods to different children. There’s so much room for, “Why do you favour _______________?” But of course different children need to be related to in different ways, and you managed to do so effectively. How wonderful to see your son’s grades improve as he matured. This is a story of hope!

    • Yes, I hope and pray that I’m discerning enough to do this with my own children – should the need arise. I love how Kim’s son was mature enough to face the facts and acknowledge that something had to change. That was no accident.

  3. LOVE this!! What I love the most is that it really motivated your son to get serious about his studies – great job, mom and dad!

    • Thank you! @lauriethefrugalfarmer:disqus Many years earlier I asked God for wisdom in parenting & realized His continued faithfulness once again! Parenting is tough and the teen years can be extra challenging, but the payoff can be so rewarding when you get to the other side!