5 Ways to Use Real Estate Investing to Teach Your Kids About Finance

5 Ways to Use Real Estate Investing to Teach Your Kids About Finance

4 min read
Chris Clothier

Chris Clothier began building his rental portfolio in 2003 as a successful entrepreneur looking to diversify his investments. He quickly gravitated toward passive investing, establishing a portfolio of over 50 single family homes in Memphis, Tenn. As an original client of his family’s firm Memphis Invest (now REI Nation), Chris experienced firsthand what a passive investor endures when purchasing out of state. In 2007, Chris moved his company and family back to Tennessee, wound down his brokering company, and joined REI Nation as a partner and director of sales and marketing.

Since joining REI Nation, the business has grown into the premier turnkey investment company in the country and a standard bearer for best practices in the industry, managing over 6,000 investment properties for 2,000 passive clients. In addition to managing the development and implementation of sales and marketing processes, Chris serves as an ambassador for the company, working with the team to help potential investors define their purpose for investing in real estate and educating peer companies on best practices.

REI Nation clients’ portfolios hold a value of close to $800 million in single family assets in seven cities. The company has been featured as a six-straight year honoree in Inc. magazine’s list of the 500/5,000 “Fastest Growing Companies in America.”

In 2019, Chris’ team assisted 600 investors with purchasing just under 1,000 fully-renovated and occupied turnkey homes. Chris led the re-brand of his family’s company on January 1, 2020, from Memphis Invest to REI Nation.

Chris is also an experienced real estate speaker and addresses small and large audiences of real estate investors and business professionals nationwide several times each year, including IMN single family conferences, the PM Grow property management conference, and the Ignite conference in Las Vegas each December.

Chris continues to hold a sizable single-family rental portfolio in both Tennessee and Texas. Along with his family, he owns several commercial buildings in the greater Memphis area.

When not working with the team at REI Nation, Chris is busy raising five kids, operating a racing company in Memphis, and serving as CEO for The Cancer Kickers Soccer Club, a Memphis-based 501c3 providing comfort and care for kids battling childhood cancers.

Founded in 2017 by Chris and Michelle Clothier, the non-profit organization focuses on providing a team environment for kids to find encouragement and strength in their battle. The company worked with over 500 children from six countries in 2019.

Chris has been featured in stories published in Money Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and DN News, as well as the Memphis Business Journal. In 2018, McGraw-Hill Publishing purchased Chris’ manuscript, The Turnkey Revolution, and worked with Chris to publish his first book in May 2018.

Chris also publishes two weekly blogs at ChrisClothier.com and REINation.com. Chris has also published articles on the BiggerPockets Blog since 2009.


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It’s never too early to start imparting wise money ways to the next generation. Teaching children about money can be a challenge. Ask me how I know this! I have five children, and several already have a firm grasp on the concept of spending money. I am having a little more difficulty helping them grasp the saving, investing and growing concepts…

There are plenty of philosophies on how best to educate and responsibly teach kids about finance. Some earn money through chores. Some have a weekly or monthly allowance. Others have checking accounts set up at early ages and are taught to keep a register so they are always aware of their balance. Some pay a small fine for trespasses, from slipping with a swear to putting bugs in their older sister’s bed. So on and so forth. All of these are good and noble ways to teach kids about the connection between work and money, as well as the consequence or cost of actions.

Even as real estate investors, teaching our children how to handle money responsibly isn’t easy. Money and finances can be complicated — but that doesn’t mean we can’t use our wisdom from investing in real estate to impart good principles for the future of their money management.

I am sure that there are many readers on here who do the same things that I do, particularly when it comes to real estate investing and involving your kids. My kids go with me to the houses I am renovating. They go with me to check on the houses, review the job site, meet with the contractors and even visit the bank. They are in the middle of watching and learning what I do, but the money side of it is tricky.

Related: The Innovative Way I Plan to Teach My Kids About Real Estate & Building Wealth

I don’t want them to think money is just growing on trees, but there are a lot of things that they need to learn and there are steps to take on that road. I wouldn’t say that it is step by step, but there are definitely easy concepts to more advanced concepts, and these are 4 essentials I think my kids have to understand. While these tips primarily target younger children, remember that you can always impart your financial wisdom, whether you’re talking to 12-year-olds and teenagers or your grown children.

5 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Finances

Start With Savings

After settling on an appropriate and reasonable allowance for your children, use it as a tool to teach them how to save. You can start by simply refusing to fulfill an immediate impulse when your child doesn’t have the funds to make a desired purchase. Make them wait until their next allowance. By the same token, teach them about setting money aside. They can start to learn when something is worth dipping into their savings for — and when it isn’t.


We use glass jars that are visible on the counter, and it helps them to have an understanding about how much they “have.” That is a good thing for children and easy to understand and start developing a healthy understanding of “how much” is a lot.

Make Buckets

U.S. News Money recommends a bucket method for kids. Require your children to split their allowance into four “buckets”: charity, savings, investing and spending money. Require that that allowance be divided in some way in all four buckets. Talk through their financial decisions with them and stress the value of empathy and giving as much as the value in delayed gratification and the principles of compounding.

Delay Gratification

This is a great place to throw this one in because it is so important in today’s society. Everything is instant gratification. and so much of the recent research into millennials shows that the most recent high school and college graduates have a tough time respecting time. They are used to having everything now. They want to be the boss now. They want the house, the cars, the bling and the latest and greatest of everything and they want all of it now.

The best thing we can do is teach our kids to wait. Be happy and satisfied with the time it takes and the work it takes to get your goals. The reward of that goal is worth the wait. So, speak with your children about the need to wait and delay their gratification.

Learn Balancing and Budgets

From the buckets, children must learn the relationship between earning, spending and saving. Can they afford to dip into their savings for something? Is it worth the trade-off? In time, they can learn how to balance a checkbook and develop a personal budget. Teach them, then let them try out financial concepts in real life. In time, they will develop an appreciation for the value of money and how to wield their capital responsibly.

As for real estate, share with them your budgets on your properties. Show them the rental deposits and the mortgage payment. Help them to understand the difference between the two and the fact that one gets paid whether or not the other is collected!


Related: BP Podcast 095: Multifamily Investments, Partnerships, and Raising Your Kids to Be Entrepreneurs With Curt Bidwell


It doesn’t have to be a big investment. Some children may not be ready for it, and looking at stocks and everything involved may be overwhelming to them. Introducing them to mutual funds and teaching them how to follow stocks, however, can be a valuable step to raising financially-savvy kids. For me though, I would rather let my kids get involved in a real estate deal. Let them purchase the light kits for an investment property, and pay them interest on their money. Let them cover the cost of a particular line item in your budget, and then pay them accordingly.

Speaking of investing, teach them the value of investing their time and not just their money. You may just be bringing up the next great generation of real estate investors. They are going to need to know how to manage not only their dollars, but their time as well.

Let them try. Involve them. Even if the concepts are simplified for their sake, you can explain to them how investing works and how it can grow their money for the future. There’s plenty kids can learn from you about money. Don’t let them get to their senior year of high school before they take a personal finance class. Use what you know from investing in real estate to build a solid education for their future.

Instill good money sense early. In the end, it will pay off.

What was the most valuable piece of financial advice you received when you were young?

Share with us in the comments.