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Christy Laverty and Ken Lashley live west of Toronto in Burlington, Ontario with their two daughters: a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old.

The couple began teaching their daughters about money at an early age because they felt it was the right time to instill lifelong financial lessons.

Laverty has her own media and PR coaching business and Lashley is a comic artist who’s worked on Marvel’s X-Men and Black Panther. The couple setup their daughters with bank accounts and bank cards at a young age, so they would be able to put money in and take it out, with guidance from mom and dad.

We wanted them to understand that money is something that we all work for. Whether you work in a factory or office job — money is hours worked.

Money Is Hours Worked

“We always felt it was important to set limits and talk about things we were doing,” says Laverty. “We wanted them to understand that money is something that we all work for. Whether you work in a factory or office job — money is hours worked.”

“It’s essential for kids to understand the origin of money and that there is not an endless supply,” she says. “For example, going through the checkout at the grocery store and being mindful that you can’t grab everything you want without thinking about it,”

As the girls move into their teenage years and become more independent, issues around money have gotten more challenging. For instance, when their daughters go to the mall with friends, Laverty and Lashley aren’t always there to help them track spending. In these cases, they try to keep their daughters mindful about spending by asking open-ended questions, and having them check receipts and count change.

Technology

Laverty finds electronics challenging, especially cell phones.

“This is a generation that doesn’t think twice about streaming YouTube videos,” says Laverty. The family talks about data usage and explains why the kids shouldn’t stream videos at the park with friends. They encourage their daughters to use known Wi-Fi networks, but have also adjusted their family data plan so that the girls have more data but the family can stay on budget.

With kids, Laverty says one thing she monitors is phone apps. In-app purchases in popular games for example, can increase your monthly bill, without kids realizing they are spending real money. “Apps add up,” says Laverty. “It’s $1 here or $2 here and at the end of the month you end up spending $20.”

Respect

The couple noticed different money personalities in their children at a young age. If each daughter had $20, one squirreled it away and the other spent it — one was a saver and one was a spender.

So, they try to be cognizant of this when teaching their children to understand how money works, which the couple says resonates better with their kids.

The 14-year-old babysits, for example, and both parents have noticed she is more careful with her money; knowing she has to work six hours to earn $60 seems to make her consider more when she goes to purchase an item. Laverty hopes her younger daughter will follow suit when she starts working.

Ultimately, Laverty believes seeing the correlation between money and work is an essential step towards becoming an adult who has a good relationship with money.

Check out the RBC Parent Hub for more tips on teaching your teens and kids about money.