Personal Finance

Are you a financially intelligent parent?

Teaching kids about money is a topic that is near and dear to my heart as a father of 4 young boys. A while back I got to reading a book, The Financially Intelligent Parent: 8 Steps To Raising Successful, Generous, Responsible Children by Eileen and Jon Gallo. It was published in 2005 but the book is still very relevant to current times.

The book includes an interesting questionnaire to figure out if you a financially intelligent parent. Here are the questions:

  1. Do you have goals and a plan to educate your children about financial matters?
  2. Do you ever consider the values that you are communicating through your money behaviors?
  3. Are you uncomfortable talking about financial subjects with your children?
  4. Do you have difficulty saying no when your children ask for money?
  5. Do you use money as a bribe to get your children to do what you tell them?
  6. If you feel like you’ve been neglecting your kids, do you try to make it up to them by buying them things?
  7. Do you frequently fight with your spouse about financial subjects in front of your children?
  8. Do you harbor extreme money beliefs; such as money is the root of all evil, or money is what makes people happy?
  9. Are you neurotically fearful of going to the poorhouse even though you make a good living and there is no basis for this fear?
  10. Do you ever talk to your children about the importance of giving money to those less fortunate than your family, or make them involved in the charitable activity?
  11. Do you give your kids a constant allowance?
  12. Do you understand the emotional meaning of money in your life?
  13. Do you frequently make disparaging remarks about people who are poor or are less successful than you are?
  14. If your child raises a money issue, do you usually make the effort to take advantage of this teachable moment?

According to this questionnaire, I am happy to know that I am considered a financially intelligent parent. How did you do? Here are the answers:

  1. No
  2. Yes
  3. Yes
  4. No
  5. No
  6. No
  7. No
  8. No
  9. No
  10. No
  11. Yes
  12. Yes
  13. Yes
  14. No
  15. Yes

According to the Gallo’s, “Few parents receive perfect scores on this questionnaire. If you’ve never given much thought to these issues, the odds are that you had a number of “wrong” answers. Financially intelligent parenting isn’t an inherent skill. Our own parents’ money issues combined with social attitudes have shaped our money beliefs and behaviors, and they have not always shaped them into ways that benefit our children.”

If you think about it, being a financially intelligent parent is not always easy. It takes conscious awareness, ongoing effort and some degree of consistent behavior.

Based on the research in their book, the Gallo’s summarize financially intelligent parents as people who:

  • Are optimistic about their ability to change money behaviors;
  • Value the difference between financial savvy and financial intelligence;
  • Think long and hard about the meaning of money in their lives;
  • Consider the financial education of their children a primary parental responsibility;
  • Recognize their unconscious money deeds have as much impact on their children as their conscious money words;
  • Feel that no and enough are words that children need to hear as part of their money education;
  • Want their children to work more for a sense of satisfaction than for money;

So, are you a financially intelligent parent? Do you have any other qualities to add?


  1. Mr. 1500

    This is a topic near and dear to my heart. My parents were horrible with money and I resolve to be better with my children!

    “If you think about it, being a financially intelligent parent is not always easy.”

    Agreed! At times, it is very difficult! Watch TV, commercials. Go to the store, toys. Play with friends, peer pressure. It is a oonstant battle.

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