How to Motivate Your Child to Make Money

How to Motivate Your Child to Make Money

Our teenage daughter has developed a passion for luxury cars. It's her goal to own three of them when she's old enough to drive. To help her understand what's required to purchase an item like this, we're using her interest in it as an opportunity to motivate her to make money wisely by adopting a healthy money mindset.


Specifically, we're working with her to adopt four lifelong financial habits:

  • Set SMART goals
  • Evaluate earning opportunities
  • Save a portion of income
  • Think like a business owner

Teaching your child to practice these four healthy money habits will set them on a profitable path they can travel well into their adult years

Making money starts with setting goals

If you don't talk about setting goals with your child regularly, you're not alone. The 13th Annual Parents, Kids & Money Survey by T. Rowe Price revealed that only 54% of respondents talk about the importance of setting financial goals with their children frequently or always. About a quarter of respondents said they discuss financial goals occasionally.


If your child has shown an interest in purchasing something, be it large or small, use that as a starting point to set a SMART goal:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

The first part is already covered, since your child has something they want to work toward. Calculate the amount of money needed to purchase the item or experience. Then, set a date by which the money will need to be earned. Divide the total amount by the number of months or weeks available to earn it.


Add emotion to the goal by helping your child find or draw a picture of what they are working toward. Put that photo somewhere visible, where it can be seen and used to motivate your child to keep working toward their goal.

Help your child evaluate earning opportunities

While getting a part-time job is a valuable experience for any child, if you want to set your child up for financial success as an adult, you can do more than just encourage them to get a job flipping burgers down the street.


Help your teen to see the difference between minimum wage positions that require little, but pay less and those that involve some level of entrepreneurism. Explain how setting up a babysitting, pet sitting, or art business requires effort to find customers, get referrals, and manage time, but leads to greater earning potential. Some suggestions:

  • Advertise on Facebook Marketplace or Nextdoor
  • Find neighbors and friends to start with for free to gain references
  • Create an account on a service like Etsy or Cafepress

Offer to shadow with them in the beginning until they feel comfortable working on their own.

Encourage them to save a portion of their income

Set up a savings account for your child if they don't already have one, and challenge them to save half of what they earn. If they are paid by direct deposit, set up automatic transfers into their savings account from every check. Or, connect them to a debit card for teens, and help cultivate and monitor their money management.


Encourage them to reinvest a portion of their saving back into their business to grow it, which will help them earn more money over time. Savings can be used to purchase materials or equipment that support their business, training, education, and advertising.


Add a challenge: Think like a business owner

This last principle will aid your child no matter what profession they pursue in life.


A business owner cares about their work, their expenses, their customers, and their service because they know all they must tend to all of these areas for their business to thrive. 

When your child is older, they will be able to apply this mindset to their job and advance further and farther in their careers than others who don't apply this approach to their work.

Wrapping it up

By helping your child set goals, evaluate earning opportunities, save wisely, and think like a business owner, you will not only help them reach their immediate goal, but will set them up for financial success down the road.


What motivates your kids to earn money? Let us know @gohenry on Facebook or Twitter with #letstalkmoney
Written by John Schmoll Published Feb 17, 2022 ● 3 min. read