Athletes and Money: What Does Your Child Need to Learn?

By Janis Meredith | Posted 6/11/2020

When it comes to kids and money, if you don’t teach your kids how to take care of money, they will learn it from somebody else. Is that something you are willing to risk?

Teaching children money principles is going to take time and effort from you. But as with many other lessons in life, youth sports are another opportunity for kids to learn the value of a dollar.

Here are three very important things your kids need to learn about money, and how it relates to sports to set them up for success later in life.

How to Save.

However you choose to give your child money, whether it’s an allowance or for doing specific chores, help them learn to save, 10% is a good place to start. Then when they see that new glove that they want or the new football, they will have the satisfaction of buying it with their own money. If your child gets enough of an income to save for bigger things like a sports camp or a speed clinic, they will probably invest more effort into that because they had to pay for it!

There are many ways to teach kids to save:

•          Start with a piggy bank

•          Open up a saving account for them

•          Help them set a goal of something to save for

Talk to them about the importance of and the benefits of saving. Start this as soon as you start giving them the allowance or earned money. Encourage them to save until they automatically do it on their own. Repeat the message that every time you get paid, you should save some of your income to help prepare for the future.

How to Say No.

My dad always asked us when we were struggling with whether or not to buy something: “Is it a need or greed?”

I hated that question, because unless it’s food or medicine or a roof over our heads–those things that were obvious needs–how could I justify it? Most of the things we want are usually just that…wants. Defining wants and needs can be very subjective.

Every kid thinks they need the latest and the best sports equipment. But that can quickly drain your wallet. Maybe instead of the brand-new stuff, look for secondhand equipment.

The more important skill to learn here is the ability to say NO.

One way that I taught my kids this was to give them a budget, for instance when we were buying school clothes or school supplies. Knowing that budget went a long way to helping them learn to say YES to the things that were more economical and NO to things that were too pricey. They knew that they could either buy one pair of very expensive name-brand sports shoes or one pair of target shoes and a new glove for the same price.

Impulse buying will get your child into trouble in the years ahead as they go into adulthood. That’s why so many young adults get themselves into credit card trouble. As much as we’d love to give our kids everything they’d like to have, and even if we can, we shouldn’t. NO is not a dirty word and one that your child will be better knowing how to say to themselves in the long run.

How to be Generous.

Perhaps you’ve often thought this: My kids have more than I ever did, but they don’t seem to appreciate it. Or How do I help my kids want to give instead of always wanting to receive?

We all want to raise children who feel good about giving to others, but generosity does not always come naturally to children. It’s up to parents to instill compassion and generosity by leading them and showing them how.

Create opportunities for your children and their teams to give time, contribute money, or donate personal items. Children usually want to help; they just don’t always know how they can make a difference. Coach them forward in this and watch their joy as they learn the rewards of generosity.

Money is a tool. It’s necessary for living in our society. But the trick is teaching your children to control money and not let money control them. With these foundational principles, I believe you will succeed in doing that.

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at