As a ten-year-old missionary kid in Kenya, Rachel McDonough watched children her same age crawl over garbage piles scrounging for food. That image stayed in her memory for life. Now as a financial advisor, she works with clients on the opposite end of the wealth spectrum. She encourages families to openly communicate with their children about finances and the world’s needs.
Seeing Generosity in Action
Rachel’s own financial journey began at an early age, as she saw her parents give even on a missionary budget. They always tithed, no matter how much or how little money they fundraised. Rachel recalls her mom crying at one point when she found a ten-dollar bill in the ditch and realized she could buy milk for her family that week.
Whenever Rachel’s family traveled into Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi, they were often swarmed by children begging for money. Locals instructed Rachel’s family not to give out money since often the beggars were enslaved by owners who would keep the money for themselves. Instead, each time Rachel’s family went into the city, her parents loaded a basketful of buns and milk. They kept the food handy, ready to give out to those in need. The basket was always empty by the end of the day.
Passing On Compassion
As a financial advisor, Rachel sees firsthand the importance of holding money conversations with children from an early age. Some of her clients have never talked about money with their kids, and now those children are adults. “Money never needs to be a taboo topic,” Rachel told The Signatry. “What we don’t teach our children, someone else will.”
With her own children, Rachel’s first step in starting the money conversation was to teach them how the rest of the world lives. She took her kids and some of their friends to visit the nonprofit Feed My Starving Children. At the nonprofit, they saw tangible ways of service, such as the warehouse full of food packets and a video of kids receiving their first meal in a week. Rachel also reads to her kids biographies like that of George Mueller, a missionary who ran an orphanage. She tells them about her friend Leann, a missionary who works with orphans in Ukraine.
One summer, Rachel’s seven-year-old daughter convinced her to have a garage sale so they could give away the proceeds. Rachel, having just had a newborn baby, was not feeling up to the challenge. But her daughter talked her into it and did most of the work to pull it off. They donated all the profits to Leann and Feed My Starving Children.
Rachel hopes these conversations will shape their view of themselves and the world. “I want them to grow up understanding the privilege and responsibility of wealth, to know that God blesses them so they can be a blessing to others,” Rachel said. “As they grow up and generate their own income, they will also have the equipping to understand who they are as ambassadors of Jesus and sons and daughters of God.”
Beyond engaging with her own children, Rachel helps her clients facilitate money conversations with their own families. She encourages clients to talk openly with their children about generosity, their estate, and their finances. “I have never met a beneficiary who said, ‘Gee, I am so glad my parents kept me in the dark about this,’” Rachel said.
It is never too early to start, and it is never too late. Of course, the amount of detail you disclose to your children will increase as they grow older. But every parent can start a money conversation, and every advisor can help facilitate the process.
Rachel McDonough is passionate about helping people experience liberty and joy by integrating Christian values into their investment and financial decisions. She is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and a Certified Kingdom Advisor® and loves to come alongside both investors and other financial advisors who want to put their faith into action. You can find her at https://makeyourmoneycount.com.