Poppy is eight months old, and she loves to shop. More specifically, she loves to grab Daddy’s credit card whenever I pull it out of my wallet. In all fairness, my Chase card is shiny, and, whenever she sees it, she receives a new toy or new clothes.
Poppy has come to love my credit card so much that, when our new cards arrived in the mail this past week, Heather and I gave our daughter an old card to play with.
Heather jokes that, when Poppy is sixteen and wants Daddy’s credit card all the time, it will be my fault. I, on the other hand, look at the card as a learning experience from a very young age. Growing up, I never really had any financial structure. My mom was horrendous with money, and her two husbands (not at the same time) were no better. I honestly never had a grasp of how credit worked or could affect my life until I messed up my first chance at owning a credit card in college.
On the one hand, I fully take responsibility for my daughter’s superficial love of a shiny credit card; on the other hand, I feel that, as she gets older, being around different types of money at an early age will benefit her. Exposing a child to money at an early age but setting boundaries is a great way to teach them about responsibly managing money. In fact, when Poppy is older, I fully plan to give her an allowance and the choice of having paper money or buying something with a running balance on Daddy’s credit card. Too often we allow our children to have five dollars, and they spend it as if it’s just a disposable piece of paper with no intrinsic value . It’s no wonder kids like me in college never really think about the consequences that racking up a $3,500 credit card bill will have on their future.
No, I don’t plan to be the Lending Bank of Daddy; I simply feel that money management should start early and should involve more than giving a child $10 a week and telling them, when its gone, there is no more. I fully understand that Poppy won’t have a really good grasp of money management until she’s an adult, but I’ll be damned if she’ll have early and horrible decision making skills when it comes to managing her cash.
In the meantime, my old credit card has so far made for a wonderful new chew toy for Poppy’s incoming teeth.
How do you teach your children about financial responsibility?
Poppy with Her Credit Card © 2012 James Johnson