bow tie and suspenders holding a can of money

At the age of 28, my wife Sharon and I went bankrupt.

We were absolutely broke.

And on top of that, we had a toddler and a new baby.

Applying Biblical Financial Principles

I did dumb things with money, which wrecked a portion of my life. Then I started applying biblical financial principles like a budget, an emergency fund and getting out of debt and staying out of debt.

As we got to where we could breathe again, we made the choice to make sure financial ignorance never happened to the Ramsey family again.

We're far from the perfect family, but we declared that we would start a new family tradition—a tradition of money knowledge, money character traits and wealth.

You can do this too.

Where Are You Financially?

You may be late to the party with older kids. You may be excellent with money, or not. You may be just starting your family. Wherever you are, from today forward, you can model good money principles and intentionally create teachable moments about money for your children.

You can teach kids that work builds dignity in a job well done. You can show your children how to spend wisely and save for the future. You can teach them generosity and outrageous generosity.

And best of all, you can watch as they begin to view wealth as a stewardship responsibility, not a meal ticket. How great is that? You can actually teach a 3-year-old how to manage!

Here's a starting point:

1. A good work ethic is essential for life:

Money is earned by hard work, plain and simple. You should view teaching your children to work in the same way you view teaching them to bathe and brush their teeth—as a necessary skill for life.

2. Spend your money wisely:

Money is finite. When it's gone it's gone. Spend it wisely.

3. Save for emergencies (and for everything else):

Good spending behavior becomes a character trait and ensures future success. Don't just save for emergencies, but save for all seasons of life and for everything else you want to purchase.

4. Give to the less fortunate:

If you want children who are less selfish, teach them to give.

The Bottom Line

If the Ramseys can go from bankruptcy to a new family legacy and a new family money tradition, you can too. It's truly remarkable what can be achieved by those who believe.

Article courtesy of Parenting Teens magazine.

Dave Ramsey is America's trusted voice on money and business. He's authored five New York Times best-selling books. "The Dave Ramsey Show" is heard by more than 8.5 million listeners each week on more than 550 radio stations. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and his official website.