Wealth Blog Post

Family Finances: Teaching Kids About Maximizing Income

George Grombacher April 15, 2022

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Family Finances: Teaching Kids About Maximizing Income

A recipe for a happy life is this; earn as much as you can, save as much as you can, and give as much as you can.


Over the course of a 40 to 50 year career, it makes sense to try and earn as much as possible. In a perfect world, you’d get started as early as possible in the right situation. The alternative is hopping from job to job, never really sticking to something and developing mastery.


With that in mind, helping your kids figure out the best career fit will position them for long-term success.


Here’s another way to think about it; we want to help our kids avoid the trap of getting stuck in a job they don’t like. Far too many of us struggle to find meaningful work we enjoy. In fact, the majority of us dislike our work (depending on what survey you read), and that sucks because we spend most of our time working.


When I was a kid, I literally had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up.


My mom, while incredible, was a single mom who was a school teacher. My grandfather was a successful insurance executive, but had retired long before I was old enough to know about his career path.


When I got to college, my plan was to go to law school. Not because I wanted to be a lawyer (I had no idea what lawyers actually did), but because I perceived it to be a worthwhile profession where I could earn a good living. I went so far as to take the LSAT and to be admitted to several law schools.


Thankfully, (no offense to lawyers) I ended up not going to law school, and moved to a new city to find a job.


I can remember talking to a girlfriend and hearing her say “I’m not interested in financial services.” Hand on heart, I had no idea what financial services were.


Today, I’ve been in financial services for 20+ years and it’s been a great career for me.


Point of the story is this; I happened into it. There was no one in my life when I was a kid who talked to me about careers.


That you’re reading this puts you light years ahead of most parents, so great work. This is designed to give you practical tools for having conversations with your kids, and helping them figure out what they want to do when they grow up.


Here’s what we’ll cover:


  • What does it mean to have a career you love?

  • How should I approach helping my kids find such a career?

  • Beliefs about work and career

  • Clarifying your career goals and the work you want to do

  • Finding the perfect fit


Let’s get started.


What does it mean to have a career you love?


There’s a lot of talk about finding your purpose and that’s great for people who can actually find it. If you’ve found yours, congrats.


Here’s a different perspective. Find work you consider to be meaningful and important.  Once you’ve done that, work hard and get good at it.  When you do that, purpose will follow and you’ll love what you do.


As you’re working to help your kid(s) figure their lives out, keep this in mind.


How should I approach helping my kids find a career they love?


Don’t take a siloed approach in thinking about careers and work. Instead, talk about integrating a career with every other aspect of life such as family, friends, social life, and hobbies. While I’m not specifically talking about work/life balance, that certainly has something to do with it.


Where do you want to be?  Find the career you love


  • Your ideal life and lifestyle. Think big, deeply, and honestly about this.  What do you want your life to look like?  How will you spend your mornings, afternoons, and evenings?  Where will you be and who will be there with you?  What will you be doing?  Consider the role of your family, friends, social life, hobbies, and anything else you find important.


  • How much money will it take to fund that lifestyle?  Work backwards to figure out how much everything will cost.


  • There are a lot of ways to make money.  You can make a lot of money being an employee of a company (estimates suggest there were over 1,000 millionaires at Google at one point).  Working in sales can provide the ability to earn a high income while providing time, freedom, and flexibility.  Starting your own business has historically been the best path to becoming financially successful in America.


  • Do your research.  What does it mean to be an engineer at Google? What does a typical day look like and how do you get that job?  What do salespeople really do?  What does it take to become an entrepreneur?  Ask similar questions of whatever career you’re considering.

  • Get as much real world experience as you can.  Once you’ve narrowed down careers that are of interest to you, dig in deeper.  Are there internship opportunities?  Can you shadow someone doing it?  Can you speak with someone doing it?  Getting as close as you can to doing the work to determine if it’s something you want to do for the rest of your life.


Beliefs about work and career


Everyone has core beliefs about work and career. Your kids formed theirs by observing you and others, and from their life experiences. It’s important to figure out what their beliefs are.


Here is a list of prompts about work and career. As you talk through them with your kid, have them write down the first thing that comes to mind; don’t overthink it.


This exercise can help uncover any negative or limiting beliefs about work, and also give you direction on preferences and or fears.


  • Work is

  • A career is

  • I’d have a career I love if

  • My parents thought work was

  • In my family, work

  • Work equals

  • If I had the career I want, I’d

  • If I could afford it, I’d

  • Doing work you love is

  • Having a rewarding career is

  • Hard work is

  • Loving work is

  • When I think about work I

  • I think work

  • People think work

  • My career is


Spend some additional time talking about any that really stood out.


Clarifying your career goals and the work you want to do


When you take the time to reflect on what you want your future to look like, when you create a plan of action, and then execute that plan, most any reality can be yours. You can help your kids develop this skill as well.


It’s time for you to help your kids create the future they desire.


For each prompt, talk about and write down what they want (Feel free to add/subtract/substitute anything you’d like).


  • What do you do for a living?

  • What is your job?

  • How much money do you earn?

  • What impact do you have?

  • Where is your office?

  • How much time do you spend working?

  • Who do you work with?

  • Who do you help?

  • Why do you do what you do?

  • How does your work make you feel?

  • How does your work make others feel?

  • What does your family think about your work?

  • What do other people think about your work?

  • What do you think about your work?

  • How long will you work for?


Finding the perfect fit


We’re in a fortunate moment in time when we can choose to do work that not only rewards us monetarily, but can also fulfill us. That being said, it won’t happen on its own.


In order to find rewarding work we can be compensated for, we need to work to figure out what it is.


The Japanese concept of Ikigai can help with this process. It asks you to think about your passion, mission, vocation and profession. At the intersection of these four things is what you ought to pursue.



While there’s certainly no guarantee you’ll discover what it is, or that it even exists, I submit it’s worth going through the exercise.


Have a conversation with your kids around these questions:


What do you love?


  • What do you never get bored with?

  • When are you happiest?

  • When was the last time you lost track of time?

  • What leaves you feeling energized?


What are you good at?


  • What do people ask you for help with?

  • What comes naturally to you?

  • What are you great at without trying?


What can you get paid for?


  • Can you make a good living doing this work long-term?

  • How saturated is the space? Can you spot a niche?

  • Which careers, jobs or positions spark your interest?


What does the world need?


  • What can you do that will have a positive impact?

  • What problems would you like to help solve?

  • Will your work still be relevant a decade from now?

  • What is the world lacking?

  • How could you be more involved in the community?




The Clifton StrengthsExplorer is an assessment to help you better understand your kid’s strengths. Your child will receive a report with their top three talents, and ideas for how to bring them out in their life and career.


At $9.99, I think there’s value in taking the assessment.




We want happy kids. We want financially independent and successful kids.


There’s also the reality that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.


The idea is to put your kids in position to be successful. Having these conversations will do that. Encouraging the exploration of these ideas will get them closer to it.


I truly commend you for being proactive and for your desire to help you kids succeed!

If you’d like to help your kids get good with money, check out our Teaching Kids about Money course. 


If you’re ready to take control of your financial life, check out our DIY Financial Plan course. 


We’ve got three free courses as well: Our Goals Course, Values Course, and our Get Out of Debt course. 


Connect with one of our Certified Partners to get any question answered. 


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Check out the LifeBlood podcast.


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