One of our daughters is a natural saver. Not surprisingly, she’s incredibly goal-oriented. Better savers are imbued with a stronger ability to delay gratification. She’s definitely the one that would end up with two marshmallows in Walter Mischel’s famous Marshmallow Test. One of the advantages of a child who is this way is that you can heap more money responsibility on her earlier. For example, we moved our natural saver to an electronic allowance about a year earlier than our natural spender because it was clear she understood the importance of making smart-money choices on a routine basis. She was the one most likely to take advantage of the incentive rate we pay for money put in the Save jar. (Click here for more detailed information on how we set up allowance for our kids.) One of the challenges with her is to make sure that she’s finding a place to put her accumulated Share jar money because her head tends to be focused on amassing (trying not to say hoarding) sums and not necessarily on distributing them. Take a look at my blog post on “How to Make Sharing (Or Charitable Giving) a Habit for Your Kids.”
It’s very important to do your best not to be judgmental about your kids’ different money personalities because they can be hardwired to some extent. Please note that I’m the first to admit that I’ve made mistakes in this area many times, so don’t beat yourself up when you make those same mistakes. Just like we say with regard to learning money smarts, mistakes are part of the game as long as you learn from them. Embrace the differences, and adjust your teaching accordingly. Good luck, and happy Father’s Day!
John Lanza Chief Mammal & Creator, The Money Mammals