Generational wealth: Teaching money management

How the Moody family taught their kids to manage money starting at an early age.

When David and Karla Moody decided to start C.D. Moody Construction in 1988, they were deep in debt and struggling to provide for their two children, Karia and Charles. More than 30 years later, C.D. Moody Construction has completed more than 200 commercial projects worth an estimated $3 billion. 

Learn how the Moodys taught their kids money management—and empowered them to take control of their financial futures.

After working to start a business and get out of debt, David and Karla knew how important it was to pass along the lessons they learned about money management.

And they decided that if their kids were going to learn how to manage money, they were going to learn early. The lessons they taught were based on things David’s father had taught him about living within his means and saving.

Here are a few ways the Moodys taught their kids money management at an early age. 

1. Emphasize saving

David’s dad taught him to put away money and act like it doesn’t exist. It’s one reason the Moodys put such an emphasis on saving when teaching their kids about money.

“We made sure both of them worked during the summer,” Karla said. “And they could do whatever they wanted with their money, but they had to save something.” 

Like the Moodys, emphasizing the importance of saving can set your children up for a healthy financial future. 

“Both my parents taught my brother and me at an early age the importance of saving money,” Karia said. “I made my first investment when I was 18.”

Saving could take a few forms. You could set your kids up with their own savings accounts or have them contribute a percentage of their income to their college savings fund. The key is to involve them in conversations about saving early in life.

2. Give kids responsibility

Part of the Moody children’s financial education came through real-life experience.

“My brother and I were both given credit cards when we got our [driver’s] licenses,” Karia said. 

But the cards came with a caveat, according to mother Karla. They could use the cards, but they also had to pay the balance each month. And it didn’t stop there.

“We got cell phones around like 17, and we were responsible for paying that bill as well,” Karia said.

The Moodys set an example about how to avoid micromanaging their kids’ finances. They let their children take the reins at an early age and learn by experience.

3. Let them make mistakes

David and Karla didn’t just give their kids responsibility—they also let them make some mistakes. And they resisted the urge to jump in and bail their kids out when things got hard. 

“One day I came to my dad and kind of presented to him, ‘Hey, this is what my account is looking like. I kind of made some bad decisions,’” Karia said. “And he was like, ‘Hey, you work—figure it out.’”

Karia and Charles knew that if the situation got too bad, their parents would be there. But they had to try to dig themselves out of the hole first. 

“My dad always kind of had the theory of, ‘I’m not going to let you fall on your face, but you can get really, really close to the ground,’” Karia said. “Doing that early has definitely made me more responsible as an adult.”

Read the next article in the generational wealth series

Want to learn more about the Moodys? See how they saved for college and helped their kids graduate debt free.

Saving for College

Find out how the Moodys built their children's college funds.

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