How can parents best teach their young adult children to manage their money well? Sam Runyan, a BYU School of Family Life student found that “practice makes perfect.” He interviewed 90 undergraduate students from various American universities, and found that, by enlarge, parents used experiential teaching to teach their children how to manage and spend money, how to work hard for their money, and how to become independent and self-reliant. He presented the results of his study at our college’s annual Fulton Conference, where he and his co-authors won first place for their department.
Specifically, their study found that parents taught their young adults beginning when they were young, by doing the following:
- Opening a bank account for their children
- Giving them an allowance
- Helping them understand smart spending
- Giving them opportunities to work
Sam has seen the benefits of these teachings in his own life: “My parents taught me to work hard to earn money through chores around the house and different jobs, and they taught me how to spend and manage my money once I earned it. They ultimately taught me to become an independent person, and as I got older they gave me more opportunities to do things on my own. I think that because they taught me in that way, I was able to financially support myself when I went to college.”
He further described its universal importance :“Today, the millennial generation struggles to manage money as wisely as past generations. In our day, it can be easy to make foolish mistakes with our money. I believe it is important for people to learn how to avoid those mistakes so that they can financially take care of themselves and improve the lives of those around them.” He hopes that researchers, educators, and future parents will take his study’s results and and implement them in teaching their children about financial responsibility.
Sam’s project was part of a larger study examining the financial practices of emerging adults, something about which relatively little research has been conducted. More quantitative (i.e., numerical) data will now be gathered to supplement the qualitative (i.e., verbal). He says: “Our study gives us an accurate picture about the ways parents are teaching their children today, and the next step would be to find the most effective ways parents can help their children learn.”
The Fulton Conference
About the Fulton Conference, he said: “[It] was a really good experience. It was great to be able to present our research and see all the work that other students have done this year. I loved the opportunity to talk with other students and professors to share research with each other. Seeing everyone’s posters and the hard work they put in helped me appreciate the opportunities we have at BYU. It was also a great opportunity to work with such an amazing research team. Dr. Hill, Dr. Marks, and all the wonderful students I worked with have made an impact in my life. I was able to participate in a great study and at the same time make a lot of amazing friends. Overall, the Fulton Conference was a wonderful experience, and I loved the opportunity to celebrate the great accomplishments of so many students.”