Teaching Your Kids money sense

8-year-old Mini Wise Money commands a stronger grasp of personal finance than Dr. Wise Money had in her late 20’s. I feel lucky in this respect as it’s every mother’s hope for her child to surpass her in wisdom, integrity, and life fulfillment.

I feel comfortable to say that my sentiments as a parent is representative of our society at large. As mothers and fathers, we strive to provide the best for our kids and we hope that they will develop and practice work ethic, charity, and resourcefulness.

While MWM taught me to not be “scared of monies” and not to be enslaved by materials–perhaps the most important lessons in personal finance–I have successfully educated MWM on the more technical and practical aspects of $.


This post shares the various ways Mini Wise Money has developed her money sense.

  1. MWM goes to work with DWM.

As an infant, MWM sat in a front carrier when DWM taught Berkeley undergraduate students. As soon as MWM could hold a crayon and sit up on her own, she drew and scribbled next to DWM, tutoring students across the country on Skype. As a compassionate toddler, MWM eagerly helped with squirting water into the mouth of a cerebral palsy patient that DWM cared for. MWM brought baby wipes when DWM was changing this wheelchair-bound patient’s diaper.



  1. MWM likes to listens to investment books,

read by her dad with an animated voice at the dining room table. While MWM loves the scene of “feeding frenzy” described in Lier’s Poker, MWM also learns the importance of putting her money to work by investing.



  1. MWM is involved in monetary decision making.

MWM has developed a strong sense of what “value” is. She understands that value is neither an isolated cheap/discounted price nor a high quality/highly desired (by her) item. MWM considers both the price and what she gets out of the purchase. For example, she bought a $20 pair of earrings that she really liked instead of $10 for 10 pairs of earrings that she thought was only “so-so.”


Kindergarten Graduation.
Kindergarten Graduation.
  1. DWM shares her money decision and milestones with MWM.

MWM knew when DWM paid off her student loans and how DWM did it. (DWM gets free haircuts from MWM since she was 2.5 years old. DWM doesn’t go shopping & works extra after coming home from the hospital.) MWM knew why DWM chose to fund her 529 college savings account rather than refinancing their home to 15-year fixed and lower interest rate.



  1. MWM learns she has plenty by giving.

MWM went through a phase when she had tremendous sympathy for DWM’s indebtedness and lack of savings. In MWM’s words, “Mommy, you are the hardest working, poorest person I know. Poor mommy.” I’m glad that phase is mostly over as it is neither healthy nor productive to throw yourself or your mom a pity party.

Together, DWM & MWM decided to sponsor a child, Mariela in El Salvador on the Eve of Thanksgiving 2014, realizing how much they indeed have compared to the rest of the world. MWM & DWM agreed to spend a little less on themselves and put $38/month to provide Mariela with everything she needs: education, healthcare, food, and access to church.

MWM says, “It’s funny how I feel like I have more when I share my $ with Mariela (our sponsor child)… I thought I’d definitely have less, but I feel like I have more.”

MWM also is very generous with family members; she makes offers like, “Mommy I will buy you a pair of new tennis shoes. Yours have holes on the sides and a lot of sand gets in when we walk Lola (our rescued dog)…”


MWM loves her grand parents. Visiting Shanghai for the first time summer 2016.
MWM loves her grand parents. Visiting Shanghai for the first time summer 2016.


  1. MWM knows & often practices delayed gratification.

Since MWM started banking at DWM/Mommy’s bank, which offers 10% annual interest rate since 2013, MWM has only spent 5% of all her deposits, including gift/holiday money & proceeds from her artwork sales and dog walking business. MWM says, “If I don’t spend my money now and let it grow, I will get more for college and buying a house when I’m older.



  1. MWM values experiences more than material objects.

DMW immediately starts MWM in lessons on any topic of MWM’s interests—from horseback riding, gymnastics, circus, oil-painting, piano, theater, singing and voice training. However, DMW asks MWM to think hard about opportunity costs of purchasing “stuff” rather than experiences.


Mini Wise Money with her favorite auntie Wise Money Shopper.
Mini Wise Money with her favorite auntie Wise Money Shopper.



MWM knows that what matters in life are held in two places,

her heart & her head.

While anyone can steal her platinum necklace (it was a gift, DWM and MWM would have put the equivalent cash into index funds), no one can take away the knowledge MWM has learned and the love she’s given and received.


DWM & MWM are partners in crime and best copilots. When it comes to $ matters, my daughter and I learn, practice together & hold each other accountable like in all other aspects of our lives.

MWM had said once, “mommy, you won’t be wearing shoes with holes if you didn’t have me. I’m expensive,” I told her I would not trade the whole world’s treasures for her, the little apple of my eye.

You can learn more about Mini Wise Money at her dedicated web page.


  • How do you share $ sense with you kids?
  • What lessons have you taught them?
  • What lessons have they taught you?
MWM & DWM wish your financial life take wings and soar free!
MWM & DWM wish your financial life take wings and soar free!


Share your insights & questions below!

Raising Mini Wise Money
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