Making Kids Money Masters


Greed vs. Need

April 18, 2022

Image From:  annakraynova/Canva Pro

Article By: Kelly Kirk-Xu & Emily Stevens

In a world of consumerism, we all struggle to differentiate between our wants and needs from time to time. And this is true for consumers of all ages!! As we scroll through Instagram and see that influencer’s fashionable outfit, the temptation can make it feel like a need.  When we see a commercial for the latest iPhone, its hard not to look at your current phone and feel like you could use an upgrade. That juicy hamburger on your television may get your tummy rumbling and have you driving to McDonald’s before you even realize what is happening.

Our children are no exception to these desires. Has your little one become a little obsessed with having the newest things? Most parents have dealt with that “I want it!” stage. You know, the stage where you have to avoid the toy aisle at all costs.

Well, this just might be the perfect time to begin teaching your little one the differences between “wants” and “needs.”  Not everything they “want” is worth their time and money.   That sounds great and all, but you may be struggling to figure out just where to start. No worries! Walter the Vault has got your back!

Lead by Example

Have your consumption habits gotten out of hand recently? Our children learn the most from the behaviors they see from us, the parents. Talk through some buying decisions with your future money masters.  It’s good for them to hear about your struggles and decision making processes.  They will hear that their role models have to resist temptations as well, and learn from your example.

For example, imagine you have just watched a commercial for the newest model of that luxury car you’ve been dreaming of. Mention how much you would love the car to your child and talk to them about why you cannot just purchase it right then and there.  You can talk about budgeting, expenses, and setting realistic expectations.  Sometimes “imagining” having something can be just as good as actually having it.  You can play pretend and talk about all of the things you’d do “if” you had that thing.  Eventually, your kids (or your own) interests may move onto something new.  And if so, well done!  You avoided a huge expense, while still enjoying the benefits of *pretending* to own it. 🙂

It’s Okay to Say No

Parents tend to do whatever it takes to make their little ones happy. But did you know that too much instant gratification can reduce happiness? It is perfectly okay to pick and choose the things you decide to say “yes” to.  It may even be helpful to list off all of the things you’ve recently said “yes” to, to help your little ones realize that you actually have quite a lot.  Practicing gratitude can be a wonderful habit.

Teach Them the Value of Money

Let’s face it- life can get expensive. When your child has no concept of the value of money, they may see no reason why they can’t get what they want.  I mean, they see that you have money – so why not spend it on what they want?  Check out some of our other posts to learn more about teaching your child about the value of money!  It’s important to learn that we can assign a job to each dollar.  Some money will be spent on bills, some will be spent on housing, some on transportation, and whats left can be spend on extra nonessentials.  Teaching your kids this reasoning and these habits will help them understand the decision making process when it comes to spending their money. 

Should You Spoil Your Grandkids?

April 11, 2022

Image From: Latte Pancake/Canva Pro

Article By: Kelly Kirk-Xu & Emily Stevens

Grandchildren are one of the greatest joys in a person’s life. They fill up any room they enter with giggles and joy and can help you see the magic in life again.  As you have gotten older and realized just how valuable each fleeting moment is, getting to be with your grandchild feels just that much more special.

It’s only natural to want to give that cute face everything their heart desires. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be the reason their grandchild’s eyes light up, or for that ear to ear grin, or for those happy giggles? But, what happens when the spoiling gets out of hand?

Over-indulging your grandchild can lead to a number of issues within the entire family, including:

  • Behavioral issues
  • Boundaries being crossed
  • Tensions arising

Nobody wants to encounter this. That is why Walter the Vault has developed three tips for spoiling your grandchildren in a way that benefits everybody!  Balance is key – and it’s good to make sure short-term choice lead to long-term success.

Prioritize Experiences and Memories Over Material Items

It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking your grandchild needs every new toy or outfit you see in the store. They deserve it, right?  They’re so cute!!  However, this habit can create expectations from your grandchildren that can actually impact their relationship with impulsivity, patience, and delayed gratification! When your grandchild grows to expect a gift every time they see you, the relationship can suffer.  If you ever DON’T give the a gift, they may feel disappointed.  Its almost like you mistakenly conditioned them to expect gifts from you – when, really, you want to share and spread love.  You want them to appreciate your time together.  This is why you may benefit from spoiling your grandchild with fun experiences and activities over gifts and material items. Together, you will build memories to last a lifetime.

It’s the Little Things That Count

Grandparents are known to indulge their grandkids every once in a while. Put your heart into the little indulgences, like taking the kids for a trip to grab a Happy Meal, letting them have that extra scoop of ice cream, or picking up that goofy Congratulations card when you’re feeling proud of them. Little things can add up to grand memories of the love you have for your grandchild.

Spoil Them with “I Love You”

You can’t go wrong with showing your grandchildren a little affection. Let them know just how much you love them through little acts of love. Tell them you love them and what they’re doing well. Write them a letter when you’re thinking about them. Show off their little pieces of art on your fridge. Making your grandchild feel special through little acts of love and attention will go a long way.

Spring Cleaning and Donating (Tax Benefits)

April 4, 2022

Image From: yavdate from Getty Images/Canva Pro

Article By: Kelly Kirk-Xu & Emily Stevens

As the flowers bloom, the sun shines just a little bit longer, and the weather finally begins to warm up again, we all know what time is coming. Yes, with the early spring blossoms comes a great opportunity to purge your clutter. In other words, it’s spring cleaning time!

Spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to gather your money masters and help them learn about decluttering, donations, gratitude, and giving. That isn’t all spring cleaning is good for, though. Did you know that those donations can actually bring you great benefits come tax season?  Charitable donations can help you save money on taxes.

Yes, as you Marie Kondo your entire home and send the extra items to be donated, you could be cutting your tax bill. How does one get the most tax benefits out of their donations? Well, Walter the Vault is here to help you learn how.

Donate to Tax-Exempt Organizations in Your Area

There are many well-known tax-exempt organizations with locations all over the place, such as Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army. If you have a specific organization you like to donate to, but don’t know if they fall under this category, give them a call and ask about it. There is also a tool to help with that known as the Tax Exempt Organization Search.

Collect Those Receipts

When you donate to these organizations, collect receipts. Save each and every one of them so you can easily record every donation. You may want to take pictures of the products to help determine the value of your donated items. There are limitations on what is eligible for tax benefits and what is not, so you will have to do your research. There is also a limit for how much you can claim under non-cash donations. You can check out the IRS website to find out this information.  Some people choose to max out their donations in each of these categories to take full advantage of this opportunity – while simultaneously helping others!

This is also a great “teaching experience” for your kids to learn about, as well.  You can ask them what items they’d like to donate from their personal collection.  After, you can determine the value of each item and make a list.  They can help contribute to your tax savings, as well!

Taxes are a more complex piece of the money mastering puzzle. Get your donation and tax receipts organized and let your mini money masters see you bask in the benefits of your spring-cleaning donations come tax season. 

Teaching Kids About Delayed Gratification

March 28, 2022
Image From: Rifka Hayati from Getty Images Signature/Canva Pro

Article By: Kelly Kirk-Xu & Emily Stevens

In a world full of speedy deliveries, streaming services, and meals that are ready in one minute, it is no wonder so many of us have fallen into an, “I want it, I got it,” mindset.  Sometimes, we end up getting more than we want or need.  We spend money without even thinking… only to, later, look at our bank accounts and question how the balance got so high??

 Teaching your child about the importance and satisfaction of delayed gratification may just be what prevents them from drowning in debt in adulthood. Walter the Vault is here to help you teach your kid about delayed gratification- before the buy-it-now, pay-it-later temptation has a chance to grab hold of them. 

We’ve all been there: you’re cruising down the grocery store and accidentally pass the dreaded toy aisle. The first sparkling doll calls your child’s name and an explosion of “please, Mommy” and tears suddenly erupt. While this is certainly a stressful situation, it is one that provides you the perfect teaching opportunity about delayed gratification. 

Have your little one create a list of the things they want. Every time they see something new they’d like, you can pull up the Notes app in your phone or pull out an old-school pen and paper and write it down along with the price. Sit your child down and help them set money goals. You can ask which wants are top priorities, how much money they currently have, and what they have to do to save enough for their dream toy.  As kids learn that resources are limited, and they only have a certain amount of money to spend on discretionary items, they’ll learn to prioritize their purchases – and resist the impulse buys.  This can be a great strategy for parents to practice as well.  You all can talk about your experience together!  It’s alright to give kids a peek into your thoughts, accomplishments, and struggles.

Your child will likely slip up a time or two as they get a grasp onto the value of holding out on small, insignificant wants for larger, more important ones. That is perfectly fine. This is why it is so great to start teaching them young. It allows them to get the tough mistakes that come with learning out of the way before they can land them in thousands of dollars in debt. 

Teaching Kids About Comparison

March 21, 2022
Image From: ljubaphoto from Getty Images Signature/Canva Pro

Article By: Kelly Kirk-Xu & Emily Stevens

Have you ever heard the saying, “Keeping up with the Joneses?” We all do it from time to time, we try to “keep up” with the community around us – with the latest trends, cool holidays, fun parties. As we see that old friend from high school post about their most recent luxury vacation, the green eyed monster of jealousy seems to just take over and we begin wondering why we can’t have their life!? It’s not fair!!!  Especially with the impact that social media has these days, it’s hard to avoid seeing how “great” others appear to be doing!! Though… is it the whole story?  And… is sending out the message that “your life is so great and glamorous” really THAT important?  

Our opinion: Of course not!! Not if it’s a waste of money and not actually making you happy.

The issue with comparison (and especially comparing ourselves to others) is that we often forget that everybody has different versions of happiness. While some of us are happy traveling the world, others might be happy spending their money on growing a farm. Comparison has been said to be the thief of joy and, in my opinion, this couldn’t be more true. 

Comparison fogs our vision, preventing us from finding contentment and loving the life we have been blessed with. We all have different loves, passions, and talents.  Perhaps, instead of comparing ourselves to others, we can compare ourselves… to ourselves!  Look at yourself last year (or 5 years ago) versus today… how have things improved or declined?  What can you work on to be a “better you”? 

Kids are often comparing themselves to others.  Growing up, it can be easy to question your self-worth and your “place in the world”.  Do you really “belong” or do you feel like you’re an “imposter”?  These feelings can be very common and normal.  Teaching your children about contentment from a young age will likely follow them to adulthood, helping them find happiness with the life they have and preventing them from falling into debt while trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” A few tips for helping your child (and yourself!) combat comparison include:

  • Teaching them that their best is good enough 
  • Celebrating personal growth rather than the end results
  • Encouraging them to set and pursue goals THEY want to accomplish
  • Encouraging them to embrace their uniqueness
  • Having them name three things they love about themselves daily. 

When a person focuses on their own goals, their own talents, and their own passions, they will be less likely to get caught up in the comparison game.  Additionally, we don’t want to be obsessed with comparing ourselves to others, because, we only see a “filtered” version of others.  People often show of their “best” moments… while, with ourselves, we see every moment!  This isn’t a fair comparison.  

We all have a unique version of success and happiness. Getting caught up in trying to conform to society’s version of success will only leave a person feeling unfulfilled and unhappy. Let’s teach both our children and ourselves that our best IS good enough, what we have IS enough, and our goals ARE something worth pursuing.  Are you working hard to be the best version of “you”?  Remember, that’s enough.  You are awesome!!

Letting Kids Spend Their Own Money

March 14, 2022
Image From: photosvit, Getty Images/Canva Pro

Article By: Kelly Kirk-Xu & Emily Stevens

We all dream about raising our children to be happy, content, and (let’s face it) financially stable. Of course! If kids can learn financial skills from a young age, their entire life will be easier.  When it comes to money, “time” can be your best friend… so the longer you have to let money grow – and the earlier you start saving, the more you’ll have in the end.  With more money, you have more opportunities (for yourself and to share others).  

Money mastery tends to come with years of mistakes and experience, which is exactly why letting kids spend their own money may be just the thing to help your little one become a money master! Here at Walter the Vault, we have covered the topic of giving your child an allowance a few times, but what is a parent to do as their child prepares to spend the money they have saved?  Actually, they may learn to teach themselves about what they truly do & don’t want to buy.

Allowing your child to make their own money decisions might be a little nerve-racking at first. You may find yourself wondering if you should give them some guidance when they are preparing to blow it all on that king sized candy bar or if you should set rules about what they can and can’t spend their money on. Do you want to know what we think?

Allowing your little one to spend their money how they think is right will be a great teaching opportunity to help them learn about money! Yes, your child is going to make a mistake or two. They might have a goal to save up for the newest Nintendo Switch game, but end up blowing their savings on a sparkly new toy and fast food. 

However, allowing your child to make these mistakes when the consequences are not too serious will help prevent them from making these mistakes when it matters. Which do you think would be a harder blow- having your five-year-old splurge their toy money on a Big Mac or having your 25-year-old splurge their rent money on a shiny leather jacket?  Plus, some kids may start to watch their money quickly disappear, and they’ll realize “hmm… do I really want this?” the next time they go to buy something.  Chances are, they’ll start to figure out what they truly want, when their resources are limited.

In addition, it’s great to teach your children to set goals on what they want to buy.  When they only get a little amount of money at a time, they can buy small things with that money.  However, if they learn to “save” or even “invest” their money, they will watch their money grow.  With extra money, they can buy bigger/better things.  It’s great for kids to have these experiences and learn for themselves.

Letting your kids spend their own money will allow them to understand the consequences of their actions before things get serious. 

Teaching Your Kids About Setting Budgets for Gift-Giving

March 7, 2022
Image From: Lamaip, Getty Images/Canva Pro

Article By: Kelly Kirk-Xu & Emily Stevens

“Giving” is a huge part of building financial literacy, right?  We want to share with others & show our appreciation through the act of “giving”. However, if you have ever had to budget for buying gifts for your loved ones, you know that gifts add up fast.  It’s easy to spend more than you expected, getting carried away with your love for others. Gift budgets will follow you throughout the year as birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, and holidays come and go.

To begin, you may want to have your child write a list of the people they’d like to give gifts to and what they would like to get them. This will help you and your child get a better idea of how much money you should be saving to meet this goal.

Once you have tallied up the total of the gifts your child would like to give, you can now create a realistic budget for them to stick to! Whether you are having your child save their own money or giving them a set amount they can spend, helping them understand that everything tends to cost money, whether they buy it or make it at home, will help them on their journey to master their money!

Kids tend to be great visual learners as they are still learning about numbers and letters. If your child is working to save their own money, having them categorize their money will help them get a greater grasp about budgeting. While some categories may include savings for a specific toy or trip and spending money, you can also create a category with gift-giving money.

When it comes time to buy the gifts, your little one may become tempted by the alluring things scattered throughout the shopping center. Remind them of their original goal and encourage them to stick to the plan. Gift-giving is a fulfilling and wonderful thing. As your child learns how to give without going over budget, they will become that much closer to understanding the value of money and grasping the concept of finances.     

5 Things to Learn from Warren Buffet

February 28, 2022
Image from: Asa Mathat/Fortune MPW

Article By: Kelly Kirk-Xu & Emily Stevens

Warren Buffett knows a thing or two about money. I mean, he is only one of the richest men in the world. He is also not stingy about sharing his wisdom. As a matter of fact, the billionaire has even produced an animated series for entrepreneurial kids that can be found on Youtube called Secret Millionaires Club! Warren Buffet has shared a wealth of valuable information with the world. For this article, Walter the Vault went on a search for some of his greatest lessons to share with your kids (and learn for yourself)! 

Invest in Yourself

Warren Buffet has been quoted saying that you are your best investment. Whether it is your time, effort, or money- investing in yourself first will prove to bring you happiness in the long run. 

Live with Integrity

Buffet has shared the importance of building and maintaining a good reputation. It doesn’t take much to destroy a well-built reputation, though. He believes that remaining mindful of this is crucial to upholding your morals.

Stay Out of Trouble

Buffett has spoken about how avoiding trouble altogether is easier than getting yourself out of trouble. This little token of wisdom could apply to every single piece of you and your kid’s life, whether that be in relationships, school, finances, or something else. Avoiding trouble in the first place will save you a lot of time, effort, and stress.

Avoid Falling into Debt

Debt is a thing that can certainly be difficult to get out of. Warren Buffett is believed to be an advocate for avoiding debt where possible, and I’d like to think that is some pretty sound advice. Teaching our little ones about the importance of avoiding debt from a young age will be so beneficial to them as they grow up.

Success is More Than the Numbers in Your Bank Account

In our pursuit of money, many of us can forget the other things in life that are important- love, connection, and happiness. Don’t lose your own version of success in the pursuit of other’s.

Talking to Your Kids About a Smaller Budget

February 21, 2022

Image From: Syda Productions/Canva Pro

Article By: Kelly Kirk-Xu & Emily Stevens

These past few years have been rough on the entire world. A worldwide pandemic has left many with pay cuts, changes in careers, or without work at all. These changes to salary mean that the household will now have to make a few cuts in the budget. 

Maybe you have to cut down on take-out meals, stop spending money on new toys, or you’ve even had to downsize your home. Talking to your kids about cuts in the budget can help them adjust as old comforts and indulgences undergo a few changes. Talking to your kids about a smaller budget can be a difficult topic to discuss, though, which is why Walter the Vault is here to help you get the conversation rolling.  A lot of times, when kids understand not only “what” is going on, but “why” it is going on, too… they’re more willing to be “on board” with the game plan.

  1. Have a plan. Before you talk to the kids, consider the changes you may have to make. Where should the kids most likely expect changes? Is there a timeframe in mind?  How can you make the transition as smooth as possible? You don’t have to have all the answers before holding a family meeting, but your little ones will likely find comfort in having some kind of plan.  You’re welcome to ask for their ideas as well.  Perhaps they’ll feel proud to have their ideas become a part of your family’s routine.
  2. Keep the conversation ageappropriate. Speaking in terms that your child understands will help prevent any confusion that may be cause for panic later. Be mindful of the vocabulary you are using, how much information would be appropriate to share, and which topics would be most important to your little one.  You can even ask them to reexplain what’s going on in their own words, to make sure you’re both on the same page.
  3. Be honest, but optimistic. Sugar-coating the issues at hand will probably leave your child confused as reality sets in. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t speak with a hope that things will get better – and how you’re working to get there. While you should be open and honest about what you know, making sure your child holds onto hope will help them push through the challenges that will arise as they experience change. 

Leaving a Legacy of Financial Education

February 14, 2022

As we get older, we all dream of leaving behind a legacy of generational wealth. We want our children, their children, and their children’s children to remember the values we worked our whole lives to instill into them.  We want for them to have financial stability and have better lives than the generation before.  Well, this dream can pertain to a legacy of financial education!

Finances are tough to get good at. It takes a lot of trial and error to learn how to navigate the world of money, investments, and budgets. The truth is, financial education can be a frightening subject when you have nobody to help you become a money master yourself.  It’s no longer taught in schools, there aren’t many tv shows that talk about it… really, it’s up to you to learn the basics and figuring out how to manage your wealth responsibly.  And, learning on your own can be challenging!

This is probably why you’ve found money creeping its way into your legacy daydreams. Money certainly plays a much larger role in happiness and success than most of us would like to admit. Money gives us freedom, the freedom to spend our time how we’d like.  While you don’t need to be a millionaire to be happy, it certainly doesn’t hurt.

So, now we’ve got you asking, “How do I even begin to leave a legacy of financial education?” Well, no worries! Walt the Vault has got your back! Here are some tips for leaving behind a legacy of financial education to guide the generations of your family to come!

1. Educate yourself first. It’s a bit hard to even begin building a legacy of financial education without any knowledge on the subject. We won’t leave you hanging, though! There are tons of financial literacy resources out there to help you learn right alongside the little ones!

2. Give them real-world knowledge! Let’s face it, kids don’t exactly have the biggest attention spans. Keep them interested in their learning by getting your little one involved in some small real-life financial situations. This allows them to explore finances in a way that will stick with them forever! You can try to get them involved in investing, involve them in the family financial discussions, or grant them their own allowance!

3. Be the example. You are truly a role model to that little one. Show your money master skills to them in your everyday life. As they watch you budget, invest, and continue your own financial education, they’ll be excited to follow your lead.  You can even show them mistakes you made in the past and what you learned from it.  Also, don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” and research the answer together. This will teach kids researching skills, as well, and how to ask for help. 

4. Start saving!  The magic of compound interest is one of the best ways to make money over time.  If you can invest a little bit of your salary, it will definitely add up over time.  You can also make special savings accounts for your children or grandchildren.  It doesn’t have to be much, but as time goes by, the value of that money can double over and over again.  On average, the stock market doubles every 7-9 years.  So, by the time your child is 18, if you started saving since they were a baby, the money you’ve save will have doubled!  It just takes self control, commitment, and patience.


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