The Most Essential Skill Parents Need to Teach Kids for Their Success

By SAM X RENICK September 4, 2017

Do you want your child or children to be ready and capable of achieving success, life-long success? You may be saying sure, who doesn’t? Well, after reviewing numerous articles on the most important skills to teach children, there is one essential skill required for success that is frequently overlooked. What is the skill? The habit of saving money.

I stress the word habit. Why? Because, if saving money is not a habit, it will be difficult to effectively manage the money one earns and receives throughout their life. Furthermore, it will be nearly impossible to achieve, sustain, and grow ones’ financial stability. And, without financial stability, every other aspect of a person’s life is at risk. Three examples, marriage, home ownership and retirement.

There is no doubt money plays a significant role in life. It is a primary factor in where we live, how we live, and what we do for a living. Hence, it is rational and responsible to become skilled at understanding and managing it.

Here is an important fact many parents are not aware of, adult money habits are set by age seven. That is according to University of Cambridge research. Imagine your child’s brain as software. By the age of seven it is highly likely the only software coded into their thinking pattern are tens of thousands of messages on consumption, and probably not smart consumption.

The habit of saving money is an essential skill for obvious and not so obvious reasons. What is obvious about saving is it a cornerstone to sound money management and a lifetime of financial wellness. It is so essential, world renowned investor Warren Buffett advocates, “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”

What is less obvious about saving are the other qualities and skills it inculcates in an individual. Five of the most important are: learning to delay gratification; discipline; developing the ability to set goals; building of confidence and self-esteem; and, grit.

Similar to saving, grit is an underappreciated skill. Checkout University of Pennsylvania professor Angela Lee Duckworth’s Ted Talk, “Grit, the power and passion of perseverance.” In it, professor Duckworth asks the question – “What do you think causes people to be successful? Intelligence or determination?” Determination – grit! In a world that increasingly values and rewards immediate gratification it requires an abundance of grit and determination to save money.

Cultivating and instilling the habit and psychology of saving early is essential if you want to give your child every opportunity to be successful. It also makes it easier to do and incorporate into ones’ lifestyle versus struggling to acquire the behavior later in life. Teaching a child to get in the habit of saving money is loaded with benefits that payoff for a lifetime. Research, common sense, and life experience point us to that conclusion.


Sam X Renick is the driving force behind Sammy Rabbit, the Dream Big Read and the Dream Big Club. Sam and Sammy are dedicated to empowering kids’ dreams and improving their financial literacy through the development of great habits and strategic life skills. For stories, songs, and activities that teach and reinforce the concept, checkout