Focus on the Family – What’s your child’s ‘money personality’?

Q: Our children are both in elementary school, and we want to start teaching them to handle money wisely. Is there anything we should keep in mind?

Jim: I’m sure you know whether your children are introverts or extroverts. It’s key to their personality and how they interact with people. Financial experts Scott and Bethany Palmer have identified five basic “money personalities,” and say that children (and adults) each show two, primary and secondary:

The “Saver”: Whether it’s cash or collecting rocks, savers hold on to stuff. That can be positive. But you’ll probably have to encourage them to loosen their grip on their piggy bank every once in a while, for something worthwhile.

The “Spender”: It might be a cheap pack of gum or an expensive video game — they like to buy, and they crave instant gratification. Teach them to balance saving and spending, but understand they’ll still probably make some bad money choices.

The “Security Seeker”: They plan for the future, save money for a rainy day and refuse to touch a penny until that day comes. Applaud their careful planning, while helping them learn to feel comfortable using their money for other things when appropriate.

The “Risk Taker”: They aren’t emotionally attached to their stuff, so they won’t hesitate to jump at opportunities that come along. They can make great things happen, but they’re just as likely to buy on a whim. Help them channel their enthusiasm and learn to be strategic.

The “Flyer”: They don’t think much about finances; relationships come first, so they just see money as a tool to connect with others.

There’s no “one size fits all” method of teaching your children to handle money wisely. But understanding your son or daughter’s tendencies and money personality can make navigating these issues a lot easier.

Q: My wife and I have been married almost eight years. But our problems run so deep that I think we’re both wondering if maybe we should just go our separate ways. Can you give me any reason why our marriage would even be worth trying to save?

Greg Smalley, Vice President, Family Ministries: I have no doubt that what you’re facing is difficult, and my heart goes out to you. I believe your marriage is worth fighting for, for a lot of reasons.

If you’re a parent, one of your most important considerations ought to be the welfare of your kids. Some people say children are relieved when their parents divorce, if it means they’ll just stop arguing. But that’s really not true. In fact, studies show that divorce is one of the biggest fears kids have. Twenty-five years later, children whose parents divorced still remember the loneliness and fear their parents’ breakup caused them.

Research also shows that divorced couples aren’t significantly happier once their marriage ends, and most wish they had worked harder to save their marriage.

But what happens if you put in the work to repair and strengthen your marriage? Again, the research shows that in most cases each spouse experiences greater physical, mental and emotional health, and their relationship is stronger and happier.

So here’s the takeaway: You don’t have to choose between staying in an unhappy marriage or divorcing and being just as miserable. Your marriage can be healed and restored if both of you are willing to try. Sure, it’ll take work, but it is possible to develop the happiness and intimacy you and your spouse have been looking for all along. Our counselors at Focus on the Family would be happy to help; don’t hesitate to call them at (800) A-FAMILY (800-232-6459).

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Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at www.jimdalyblog.com or at www.facebook.com/DalyFocus.

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