You might be concerned that your children never listen to you. The good news (and the bad news) is that your children are always watching. Kids quickly assimilate your habits and attitudes regarding money. Are you demonstrating habits that will help or harm their financial future?

When faced with uncertainty, it’s common to rely on experience. When your children grow up and face financial situations, they’re going to mimic what they know. It’s up to you to set an example that will enhance their financial future.

It’s likely you haven’t considered what you’re inadvertently teaching your kids about money. Today is a wonderful day to start.

Financial habits that make life more challenging:

1. Using credit cards unwisely. This may be the most devastating financial habit to acquire. Credit cards are convenient and can be an effective way to get yourself out of a financial jam, but the use of credit to purchase unnecessary items is one of the leading causes of financial stress and bankruptcy.

2. Giving in to impulse purchases. Children already have impulse issues. Witnessing a lack a financial control by a parent makes self-control even more elusive in the future. Show your children that purchases should be decided ahead of a shopping trip.

3. Not sticking to the budget. Sticking to your budget is another demonstration of financial self-control. Allow your children to know that a budget exists and that certain purchases can’t be made because of the budget.

4. Not making a clear distinction between needs and wants. Demonstrate to your kids that needs are to be taken care of first. Wants are only considered after the critical items have been addressed.

Avoid demonstrating these financial habits to your children. Remember that they’re always watching you!

But not all habits are negative. There are many positive financial habits you can help your children to develop by setting a good example.

Are you sharing these positive financial habits?

1. Consistent saving. Make a big deal out of saving money from each paycheck. Encourage your child to do the same with a portion of any money they earn or receive as a gift. If you had saved 15% of each paycheck since you started working, how much would you have today?

* A robust savings account is an effective solution to many of life’s financial challenges.

2. Paying bills on time. Your children see those bills with the words “Past Due.” They also notice when you avoid the bill collectors that call day and night. Pay your bills and avoid the late fees. You’ll also be setting a great example for your child.

3. Sacrifice. Making great financial strides requires sacrifice. Let your children know that you’re not buying a new car because it’s more important to save for their college or retirement. Give them the option of making a small purchase at the sacrifice of something else. All financial decisions have positive and negative consequences.

4. Enjoying the rewards of financial responsibility. No one wants to sacrifice all the time. The whole point of sacrificing is to enjoy the end result. Show your children that regularly saving money results in a vacation or a new television. Let your kids see the positive outcome of good financial habits.

Are you demonstrating good financial habits to your children? Are you demonstrating poor habits? You have a tremendous amount of influence over your child’s financial future. They’re likely to behave in a fashion similar that which they observe. Consider what you’re teaching your child each day with your money habits.