What is Your Kid's
Money Personality?

Do you know what your kid's money personality is?



For some kids, it is pretty easy to figure out. There is the spender who spends all he has (and sometimes more). Then there is the saver who is the master of delayed gratification. But most kids are not quite the easy. They are some combination of the spender and the saver. Figuring out which category they fit into or what their mix is can be a key to teaching children to save money and to overall money management for kids.

The Money Personality Quiz
While not really an official quiz, these questions will help determine whether a kid is a spender or a saver. Since this is about personality traits and tendencies, it pays to look at a variety of situations - not just money.

Use these plus what you already know about your child or teen to guide you in where they fit on the spender-saver spectrum. (And, kids, if you are reading this instead of your parents, take the quiz yourself. See what you think and where you land. Have your friends take it too - and then compare notes.)

  • What is the first thing they want to do when they get money? This is what they do without prompting or if they don't already have it earmarked for a big purchase. Do they want to save it because they don't have anything specific in mind? Or are they bugging you until they can go to the mall or movies to spend it? Money management for kids covers all of these areas so consider each piece separately to get a better view of your child's money personality
  • How do they handle their stuff? Do they treat their toys (of whatever variety or cost) with respect? Or do they think that there is an endless supply of stuff to replace what might be damaged? While trashing their rooms is not always the sign of a spender, kids who believe that "there is more where that came from" may be more likely to view only the short-term spending high and not the long-term benefits of saving. Teaching children to save money can not only influence how they treat their money but also their other belongings.
  • When they were little (or even if they still are), how do they handle candy or food? My 9-year-old daughter has almost always saved some part of everything including candy from a grocery shopping trip to her allowance to gift money. My 7-year-old son, on the other hand, is all about immediate gratification and always has been. With my kids, it is not just an age issue although that has its place. When you look at your own kids, consider their age but don't use that as the only reason for their behavior.
  • Do they plan for the future? Kids and teens who can think in terms of months and years - not just this week - are more likely to understand the idea of delayed gratification. They can focus on the benefits of giving up something now for a future payout. These are the kids who have been putting money in their piggy banks since they could get coins in the slot because they want to buy something big. Teaching money management for kids who understand waiting will likely be easier but they could also want to delay purchases for too long.
  • What is your money personality? As much as a money personality may be ingrained, there are parts of it that are also learned. If parents are spenders, kids may be more likely to be as well. Kids are great at following the patterns that are set for them, so take a moment to look at how you and your family view money.

Got your child figured out? Take that information and figure out what your next step should be. It may be that she needs help with how to save money. Or it could be that your teen needs helps budgeting. Whatever your starting point, it's important to look at it as just that and to use the resources on this site to help with those steps.


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