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Money values should be taught early

Here is a bucket list, of sorts – the financial teachings I would like to impart to my children. I had excellent role models – my grandparents and my parents all respected money. They did this by not overspending and consistently practicing delayed gratification. They also did this by working, in and out of the house.

As children, my brothers and sisters did chores and special projects. Instead of allowance, each chore was worth a certain amount. Cleaning the kitchen was a nickel, and cleaning the kitty litter was a dime. At a very young age my parents allowed me to earn money so I could buy the pack of Bubble Yum I enjoyed.

I have four children, two sets of twins – Charlie, Ben, Will and Sue – who have been my pride and joy along with my amazing husband, Rick. We too have chores, and my children are able to earn some extra change. Some things have changed a bit; cleaning the kitty litter now gets a dollar, not a dime, and I insist on sugarless gum.

To help instill my money values in my children I came up with a money bucket list:

•Understand the value of a dollar; take pride in earning your own money.

•Be financially proactive, not reactive. Develop a plan, do not make it up as you go.

•Occasionally indulge yourself and have fun within spending limits.

•Prepare for the unexpected.

•Pay yourself first.

•Strategically plan for short-, medium- and long-term savings goals.

•Be cost conscious, not cheap.

•Donate money to support a social or political issue you feel strongly about.

•Strive to always do the right thing; no matter how much money you have, if you haven’t made it honestly it won’t be worth the sleepless nights.

•Have your priorities straight – health, family, friends, career.

•Learn from your mistakes and others’ examples.

•There are very rarely ways to get rich quickly. Enjoy the process of getting there.

•Strive to have no debt. You will feel great calmness if you can achieve it.

•Make sure you and your potential spouse talk about money issues before you get married.

•Set financial, personal and spiritual goals and review them regularly.

•Don’t be afraid of change, embrace it, and always make time to revisit your financial foundation.

•Recycle, live life earth-friendly and take less than you need.

•Never value things more than you do people.

•The pleasure from a new purchase will fade quickly. What other positive activities can fill your emotional tank?

•Always get three bids when making a major purchase. This will slow you down and make you analyze why you are buying something. Do you really need it?

I want my children to understand the value of a dollar, to work hard and take pride in what they do. We as parents have an important job to help our children have a healthy relationship with money. Especially in these challenging economic times, we should take time to teach our children about how to make money – and more importantly, how to save it.

Sarah C. Rieger is a certified financial planner and member of the local Financial Planning Association chapter. Readers are invited to submit questions on financial planning to be answered in this space each Tuesday. Send questions to

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