Welcome back to the second article in our series on How to Raise Responsible Kids. You can read part 1, where we defined what responsibility means here.
In short, responsibility means your children are “able to be trusted to do what is right.”
So let’s look at what that looks like in several different contexts and how you can support your kids becoming truly responsible.
Let’s begin with money because that’s the realm where I find most parents are most interested in raising responsible kids.
What does it mean to be responsible with money? What does it mean to be trusted to do what is right with money?
To begin with, it means that you are confident your children know how to make good use of the resources that come to them, regardless of how it comes.
Before you can ensure your children become responsible in this area, you must look at whether and how you are taking responsibility. Can you be trusted to make good use of the resources that come to you?
In my experience, most people do not feel confident in this area. That lack of confidence may show up as an over focus on money, an unnecessary stinginess, or as an unwillingness to make the time to really look at what you have.
If you find yourself in any of these situations, supporting your children to become responsible with money needs to begin with you.
You can take responsibility by getting clear on what you have and what you need to provide a life of comfort and connection with the ones you love. You can show your children what responsibility looks like by creating a Family Wealth Plan that engages your children in planning for their own futures.
When you bring your children into the Family Wealth Planning process, in a well thought out manner, you are preparing them for a life of financial responsibility.
I’ve seen far too many situations where parents come to us for planning to leave inheritances to their kids, only to have them come back in years later wanting to protect their assets from their kids. This doesn’t have to be the case for your family though.
Whether you have young kids or adult kids, it’s not too late or too early to start this process of taking full responsibility for your money and leading your kids by example.
When should you bring your children into the Family Wealth Planning process?
It’s usually a good idea to start the discussion when your child is in high school. At that stage, you should (1) let them know that you have a plan in place; (2) ask if they have any questions about the plan; and (3) let them know that you have a Personal Family Lawyer® they can reach out to at any time with any questions (and that you won’t get a bill in the mail for these conversations).
For children over 18, I recommend that we meet annually, either virtually or in person, for a family meeting. The more knowledgeable your children are, they better they will be prepared if something happens to you.
In addition, once your child turns 18, they will need their own Advance Health Care Directives and Durable Power of Attorney so that you, and those they trust, can make medical and financial decisions on their behalf in case it is ever needed, such as if they are in an accident.
This article is a service of Jill Gregory, Personal Family Lawyer®. We are a family-focused law firm with a mission of guiding your family to grow its family wealth from one generation to the next. Click here to schedule your Family Wealth Planning Session and mention the Raising Responsible Kids series and we’ll waive the $750 Family Wealth Planning Session fee in the month of December.
Next week, we’ll look at relationships.
To your health, wealth and happiness,
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