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Teaching Children the Principles of Spending, Saving, and Sharing

Take an intentional approach to raising responsible, independent, and grateful children.

a woman teaching her grandson about money

Podcast Transcript

Host: Dave Specht, National Development Manager for Family Dynamics, Wells Fargo Private Bank

Guest: Gary Shunk, Family Dynamics Consultant, Wells Fargo Private Bank


It’s every parent’s goal to raise responsible, independent, and grateful children. With wealth comes great privilege; it also comes with great responsibilities. So how can we teach our children to adopt these traits?

I’m Dave Specht, the Family Dynamics National Development Manager for Wells Fargo Private Bank, and today I’m joined by Gary Shunk, a Family Dynamics Consultant with Wells Fargo Private Bank. Gary, you’ve worked with many families to model and develop these traits. How do families get started?


Well, Dave, it doesn’t happen without great intentionality. The best opportunity for children to adopt these traits is to have their parents model these behaviors and also give the kids a chance to practice them at an early age.


So, Gary, can you share any specific tactics to help our listeners get started?


I like to teach the principles of spend, save, and share with families of young children and adolescents. I encourage families first to start by providing a series of gifts to their children. The dollar amount isn’t particularly crucial. For example, let’s assume we are working with young children and the gift amount is about $20. Parents then tell their children that they can spend the $20 however they want; the only stipulation is that they have to have a conversation with their parents about how it was spent.


Sounds like an activity just about any kid would enjoy, Gary.


Yes. Next, the parent provides another gift of $20 and explains that they have to save this gift and talk to their parents about how they saved it and for what purpose. This gift may lead to conversations about short-term vs. long-term savings and also ways to invest such savings.


Well, this sounds a little less fun, but it does sound like there could be some great learning here if they want to get creative with how they save or how they invest their money.


It is a great teaching opportunity, Dave. Next the parents provide the final gift of $20 and the only stipulation for receiving this gift is that they have to find some way to give it away, and then discuss how they gave it away and how it made them feel. This activity can be done over a number of weeks or even months.


I’m guessing there are some pretty enlightening conversations along the way.


There really are. With each of these gifts, there are opportunities to talk about how they felt after they spent, saved, or shared the money. Taking an intentional approach to this process and exploring the feelings of the children after each step can lead to healthy patterns of spending, saving, and sharing. It also can provide an opportunity for parents to share how they approach spending, saving, and sharing and the reasons why they want their children to learn how to be responsible, independent, and grateful.


Those are really great tips, Gary. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

To learn more about how Wells Fargo Private Bank’s Family Dynamics Team can help you prepare your kids to be responsible, independent, and grateful, contact your relationship manager, who can introduce you to a Family Dynamics Consultant. Thanks for joining this podcast.

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Wells Fargo & Company and its affiliates do not provide legal advice. Wells Fargo Advisors is not a legal or tax advisor. Please consult your tax and legal advisors to determine how this information may apply to your own situation. Whether any planned tax result is realized by you depends on the specific facts of your own situation at the time your taxes are prepared.


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