Depending on how long this recession lasts (and that timeframe seems to change as often as the days of the week), economists, historians, and psychologists all agree that the longer this downturn lingers, the more it will shape the Millennial generation, or Gen Y’s values and attitudes towards their finances.

Financial experts argue that children are monitoring their parents’ financial decisions and will likely follow the examples that they set. Similar to the way children of the Great Depression learned to stuff money into their mattresses out of fear of bank collapses, children of the worst recession since then will learn much about personal financing based on how their parents cope with financial strife.

There’s no better time than now to start teaching your children valuable lessons about finances.

By showing kids the benefits of using coupons, cooking dinner versus going out to eat, and taking trips to the zoo over more expensive entertainment outlets, children can learn how to make the most out of frugality.

Teaching the importance of saving money can start now with the introduction of a piggy bank or even a small bank account of their own.

Much of the current economic plight stems from Americans being sucked into materialism and living beyond their means. With many now being forced to make the biggest financial sacrifices of their lives, what’s taught to children now may help spare their generation from similar financial dilemmas.


Which leads to the question, as parents, what values are you instilling in your children in terms of money and spending?

Tell me something and something good, too.

I know you don’t want to see your children sell-off the jewelry you plan to leave them to one day to pay off their overdue Rent-A-Center bill.


That is, if you haven’t already sold it yourself.

Please leave comments below or email me at

Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.