20 Ways You’re Teaching Your Child to Be Poor

20 Ways You're Teaching Your Child to Be poor

Have you ever sat back and analyzed your relationship with money? If so, did you think about how your relationship with money, influences your childs’ perception of money? I want to share with you twenty ways you may be teaching your child to be poor without even realizing it.

Just so you know, while compiling this list, I had to take note of my own money/wealth beliefs and check myself because some hit too close to home. I didn’t even realize I was teaching my child “poor” habits until I did a full mindset reprogramming around money about a year ago. Now, it makes me cringe when I hear people say self-sabotaging things about money and wealth.

I have to admit, a few of these will take some time to incorporate into your daily life but I promise if you stick to it, the results will be incredible. Your mindset and energy around money will be something you are not just conscious of but in absolute control of.

20 Steps to Poor:


You say things like, money doesn’t grow on trees! This is such a common one if I had a penny for the number of times I heard this… well you know the rest!


You talk about your bad finances in front of them. Your kids don’t need to know, you missed a credit card payment or when you are late on the rent.


You’re vocal about how much you hate your job. I think this is probably an overlooked example. We don’t realize what we’re teaching our children about money and happiness when we go to work every day to a job we hate. 


You tell them you can’t afford it when they ask you for something. Believe me, I understand this one. There are times when you genuinely can’t afford something but your kid doesn’t need to know that. Instead, tell them you don’t see the value in whatever it is they’re asking for. If it’s something you are okay with purchasing in the future, turn it into a learning opportunity. Tell him, he has until the next time you visit so and so store to prove to you why this item is valuable. This buys you time until you have the money and also saves you from having to admit to him that you can’t afford something.


You are outright salty or envious towards people who have more than you. Your child hears you when you make excuses for what other people have or what you don’t have. Example: “Well it’s easy for her, they have two incomes”. or “If I had a rich husband I’d drive a Mercedes too”. 


You speak negatively about everything. Even when seemingly good things happen. I knew a girl who won a Mustang in one of those mall raffles. It was worth $40k. When she told me, I was so excited for her. Instead of basking in the glory of winning a FREE car, the first thing she said is yes but remember I have to pay all of the taxes. Insert emphatic eye roll! I don’t need to explain to you why being negative is just not conducive to a wealthy mindset.


You watch T.V more than you read. Did you know most millionaires are reading over 1.5 hours a day? How many books did you read last year?


You give an allowance based on chores/jobs rather than experiences. You are literally teaching your child to trade their time for money. 

Example: when they put the garbage out and make their beds, they get a weekly allowance. The reality is, these “chores” are tasks normal functioning adults should be doing. This isn’t anything special or extra.  Instead give allowances based on experiences, like when they read all the books on their book log. If they ace an exam in school that you know they studied like crazy for or improved a grade significantly. When they help a friend or family member without anyone asking them to, or my personal favorite when they meet a personal goal.

20 ways youre teaching your kid to be poor
20 ways youre teaching your kid to be poor


You spend more money on accumulating things than you do experiences. Did Timmy really need 5 new pairs of sneakers, or could you have spent a weekend exploring a new city or a baseball game or science center? This doesn’t have to be some huge expense. Literally, hop in the car, pick a new place to explore and GO!


You idolize money. Most people don’t even realize when they’re doing this. If and When statements are debilitating for a wealthy mindset. Examples:

“If I can just get out of debt, I’ll be happy”.

“When I finally get this raise, things will be perfect”.

“when we have this amount saved, we’ll go on a vacation”.

Your happiness in life can’t depend on a specific financial goal, once that goal is met, the first thing we do as humans, is create another goal. It will never be enough, which means, you will never be truly happy. Is that what you want for your children?


You don’t take the time to understand money and wealth building yourself. Sadly, our society does not teach us the proper way to manage, spend and make money. If we aren’t actively seeking this knowledge, we’re pretty much screwed. So of course, If you don’t understand money, there is no way you’re going to be able to teach your children.


You believe money is the root of all evil. <—- Enough Said! I have one quote that comes to mind when people bring up this wrongly restated bible excerpt… “When great people, make great money, they do great things”.


You say things like, what do I look like, the bank? In fact you are the bank as far as your children are concerned. You are the keeper of the money. Like any bank, to withdraw from it, you either have to deposit into it or borrow from it. Instead of shutting your kids down when they ask you for something, let them treat you as the bank. Teach them how to deal with the bank; Negotiation, borrowing, and saving are all concepts they will need to learn when dealing with an actual bank.


Another conversation I hear between parents and kids too often,

kid: “can I have Mc Donald’s?”

Parent: “You got Mc Donald’s money?”

Mom. Dad. Come on… what the heck does that even mean? Just say no, its not healthy. Don’t let your kid feel like you CAN’T buy them a $4 happy meal. Even if you can’t afford it right now, they don’t need to know that!


You shut down their dreams. You don’t allow them to escape into la la land and imagine themselves living the perfect life. Why tell them to be realistic and limit their desires? The last thing we need is more miserable adults walking around feeling unfulfilled and unheard. If your kid wants to be the first juggling elephant trainer to land on Mars, so what! Albert Einstein said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”.


You spend too much time gossiping in front of your kids. Instead talk about other topics, like the world, other cultures, cool experiences. We know that our kids are always listening, even when they pretend they’re not. Save the gossip for when they’re in bed, although it honestly isn’t good for you either. Remember, “great people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small people talk about other people”.


You don’t let your children have an opinion. I remember when I was young I would hear adults say, “children should be seen and not heard”. Umm What? That is ridiculous, the sooner you allow your children to engage in “grown up” talk the better. They’ll learn to negotiate sooner, they become more comfortable having intellectual conversations and much more able to express themselves. 


You define wealth by the amount of money you have in the bank. If you haven’t figured it out yet, being wealthy is not a number it’s an energy, a mindset. It’s a way of life that money subsequently follows.


You play the lottery religiously (Don’t fight me for this one). Playing the lottery or gambling, it’s really all the same. That $20 bucks a week you spend on lotto tickets is $1040.00 a year. That $1000 could have gone to a mini-vacation, new piano lessons, or language lessons. When you consistently spend money on the lottery or gambling you are actually showing your kid that the only way you think you can be rich, is by pure luck! Not working hard, not intentionally aligning yourself with wealth, just being lucky. 

I’m going to take this one step further. When your child asks you for money for extracurricular activities and you say no we can’t afford it and then stop at a gas station on the way home and spend money on lottery tickets, you are literally telling them you believe in the lottery more than their dreams. More than their happiness.


You don’t encourage your child to read. This is huge! This goes back to #7, if you’re not reading leisurely than your child is more than likely not going to either. You have to be the example. Schedule reading time in for both you and your child. Do it together! Start small, dedicate 15 minutes before bed to read, then up it to 20, then 25 and so forth. If you can get to the point where you are relaxing with your child for 45 minutes every night, before bed to read, the two of you would have read about 52 books a year. YES 52! I know this seems like a lot so start small. Even at 20 minutes/day that is still upwards of 20 books for the year. How impressive would that be? If your little one is not yet reading, then spend this time reading to them. Malachi, my 5 yr old, and I just finished The Alchemist. We are now 15 pages into The Power of Now.

I really hope you found this list useful and eye opening. Let me know what you think. I am interested to know what things resonate with you and what doesn’t. Even if there is only one or two things that you are guilty of doing or saying, I really encourage you to reprogram your thoughts and speech where money is concerned. You can do this through hypnosis, daily journaling and/or meditation. The point is to get deep down to the root of your money blocks, so you can correct them at the source. 

If you want to start making changes immediately, download my 14 Ways to Improve the Wealth Mindset of Your Child worksheet below.

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(37) Comments

  1. As a counselor I see/hear #15 too often from adults. They crush their child dreams because their dream didnt pan out or they believe it is unachievable. It is sad that the people who should be rooting for you to be the best Martian are the main ones shooting it down.

    1. Danica says:

      Jessica it really is sad! There is such a small window where imagination is key, let the kids dream!

  2. This is so important to keep in mind. I don’t want my kids to grow up with money issues. I never talk about financial problems around them and I make sure they know about budgeting.

    1. Danica says:

      Amber, That’s great. It is so important to teach good habits at an early age.

  3. soonjoo says:

    This is something I never thought of. I was only raised to how to spend money and calculate correctly. I would love to try teach my child to be poor.

    1. Danica says:

      I definitely DON’T want you teaching your child to be poor lol!

  4. I don’t have children yet but I have heard many of these things being said to my nephew and niece, I cringe a little when I hear their parents chastise them for asking for something! Whenever they come to stay with me I try to include them in the choices I make, like what they would like for dinner, I say things like, “we are having takeaway tonight, what do you fancy?” I also try to do fun things with them, like taking them horse riding or even baking or craft making indoors! I try not to mention money at all as I think they shouldn’t be worried about things like that! They are children and should enjoy life (within reason lol)

    1. Danica says:

      Dee that is so great. I bet you are the favorite aunty. It’s so important to be aware of the way we communicate to the children in our lives.

  5. This is great and I am so guilty I am positive one day then the next my boy annoys me so much that I use the growing on trees phrase. I need to improve and change.

    1. Danica says:

      Thanks Joan. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’ve had years of processing things a certain way, so it can take time to change. When you slip up, give yourself a mental pinch and verbally correct your negative thought or statement.

  6. Talking about money is a tough one because it is a fine line between being smart with a budget and complaining about it.

    1. Danica says:

      You are so right about this. I think the key is to try to make sure you aren’t speaking from a place of lack but abundance. Highlighting the positives in a situation versus the negatives. Example: “we only have enough money to do one activity this month” vs. “wow we have more than enough to do one activity this month”. It’s still just one activity but its presented differently.

  7. You are right that many of our attitudes about money are learned as children and then possible to teach to our own children. Thanks for bringing awareness.

  8. It’s such an interesting idea to present this topic in such a way. That’s so true that parents have a big influence on their kids’ future. Great points to consider! 🙂

  9. These are amazing pointers. I am always in the mentality of “I can’t afford that,” and I need to stop that. My daughter is only two now, but she is observing me, and I need to be setting a much better example for her in this department. I am a big proponent of spending money on experiences rather than stuff though. I 100% agree that it’s a better use of money.

    1. Danica says:

      Your awareness means your half way there Carli, we are all a work in progress. Kudos mama!

  10. This is just fantastic and also hilarious. That money mindset needs to change. Robert Kiyosaki in his book Rich Dad Poor Dad always says instead of saying you can’t afford it, say how can you afford it. This way you foster an entrepreneurial mindset.

  11. Great tips about finances. Never even though about teaching my child these stuff, but we do want him to grow up as someone who is financially responsible. Will keep these tips in mind.

  12. I agree with a lot of things on this list. I think however that it is important to teach children to live within their means, budgeting, knowing what they have is enough and saving money for the future. I come from a family whose parents were not great with money. We had high times and low times. What I learned when my mom told me something cost to much was to make a plan to save for it, also that I didn’t do anything wrong when I couldn’t get a treat. I am now an adult, my husband and I handle money way better and I have been blessed. This article has given me things to think about.

  13. Gladys Nava says:

    This is amazing article that worth to read. They have many pointers that I need to share to my child. Thanks for the information you shared

  14. Wisely say. I put all of them into my pocket. I have to make myself ready to be a daddy.

  15. I love every single word you just wrote. What an insightful post. I am trying to be very mindful of the way I speak and act around my kids. They are only 4 & 2 so I’m still learning – but this has taught me a lot. Definitely showing my husband this. Thank you!

  16. It’s so important to take care of our language in front of the kids because they really absorb everything and we don’t realize how much damage we do int he long run

  17. Well said for the full list! I actually never gave much attention when it comes to what I really say in front of kids, but this gets me a new view on how to communicate effectively with children, in a more financial perspective. Great points!

  18. It’s really useful. I hope I’m not doing most of the things you’ve listed here.

  19. I find this type of article frustrating because it is completely based on anecdotal experience as opposed to data gleaned through research. For example, children shouldn’t be paid for chores simply because *you* say so? I also find it interesting that you feel children shouldn’t have taught that they exchange their time and effort for payment when that is exactly what happens in a career setting. Your justification for this is that completing household tasks is an expectation of adulthood. One could argue, however, that many of the tasks that you deem worthy of payment are too (treating others with respect and dignity and putting effort into preparing for a project, for example). Furthermore, aside from the example of the reading log, payment for these tasks would occur on an unpredictable. How does this lend to the goal of teaching children about delayed gratification and effective budgeting to meet a savings goal? Furthermore, if you as the parent are arbitrarily deciding what tasks are worthy payment in the moment, how is the child supposed to know what your expectations are and aim to satisfy them? Children aren’t adults and placing different expectations on them isn’t coddling, it’s developmentally appropriate learner scaffolding. You are welcome to state your opinion but without references or, failing that, more comprehensive anecdotal experience (you said your son is five, so how do you know how your financial lessons will effect him in adulthood?), this information is at best an opinion and at worst misleading to your readers. In future, please consider adding research your work before posting or clearly stating these are opinion-based suggestions rather than firm rules.

    1. Danica says:

      Thank you for your comment Lissa I appreciate your position. This dialogue is the beauty of the internet. We have a platform to communicate our differences and learn from one another. Like everything else you come across in life, “chew the meat and spit out the bones”. What doesn’t resonate with you is your prerogative, which I respect. To directly respond to your comment about exchanging your time for money, I stand firm on this position. In a traditional sense, you are absolutely right, in a job setting that is exactly what you’re doing. ‘This hour of your life is worth this amount of money’. I’m not raising my child to work in someone else’s job. I don’t want my son to wake up every day and have someone else put a specific dollar amount to the hours he has in his day. Time should never equal money. Time is invaluable, so it can’t be replaced. Money, on the other hand, is infinite and can be replaced. How can you measure an invaluable resource against an infinite one? Because of the life, I want my son to have, I choose to raise him outside of the confines of a worker bee. Fact is we have 24 hours in a day, if time=money then his money will always be constricted to the amount of time he works. For most people, if they aren’t working, they aren’t making money. This is why #8 made this list and is so significant.

      If he wants to be a sanitation worker, then paying him every time he puts the garbage out makes sense. If he wants to be a dishwasher, every time he washes the dishes, I will hand him a couple of dollars. Housekeeper? Perfect, I will pay him when he makes his bed. The point is to pay your kids for the skill you want them to put a value on. I don’t want him to be the housekeeper, I want him to own the company that teaches people how to own a housekeeping company. So that whether he decides to work 1 hr on any given day or 5, the amount of money he makes won’t be directly correlated to the hours he works. When my son makes an effort to learn a skill that will teach him to create a job vs. work a job, that’s when I will pay him. This position isn’t arbitrary at all, it’s actually quite rational. The measurement is simple, will what you did today, help you towards a wealthier tomorrow? Wealth in my home is measured physically, mentally and spiritually. If the answer is yes, here is your “payment”. My home is a democracy, he is encouraged to state his position and make his arguments because there will be times where we disagree. Ultimately, Lissa, my goal is to make sure my son is always pursuing his passion and living purposefully. He wasn’t created to work every day to make someone else’s dream come true.

  20. This is SUCH a great post! It becomes such a cycle… how many of these were things that we were told as kids?
    Thankful for my own shift in mindset, but also things like this pointing out mistakes that are so easily made!

    1. Danica says:

      You are very welcome Jess. It’s so easy to just continue the cycle of what we learned as children but when you know better, you do better right!

  21. May I link this article on Google+? It’s really good!|

    1. Danica says:

      Hi, Absolutely! Glad you enjoyed it.

  22. You make some passionate arguments.

  23. Good on paper-unfortunately impractical in reality, oh well..

  24. I’m not trying to argue.. but are you right about this? It seems kinda reactionary and I’m concerned for you :/

  25. I like this-Helpful read, but I don’t know where to go next. Which of your articles would you suggest I read next?

  26. This is totally well informed. Is it ok to volunteer one or two questions?

  27. You make better sense than most…

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