Do you ever wish that you had started to save and plan for your retirement sooner? That if you could just go back and talk to your younger self, one of the many things you would say is “learn to be smart with your money.” What a gift that would be. And while that’s not possible, it’s a gift that you can give to your children. We have complied some great tips and resources to help you get started.
Cause & Effect
A child as young as 3 years old can begin to grasp the concept of cause and effect. When your child reaches the age where they start to do chores around the house, you can start talking to them about the relationship between work and money. Reinforcing the reality that “you get paid only when you work” will serve your child for the rest of their life. Just like learning a language, teaching these principles early and often will be the easiest way for your child to absorb and apply them. Give your children a way to accomplish their own financial goals, instead of having them feeling entitled.
What are some of the healthy habits that you already teach your childern? Personal hygiene, keeping their room tidy, saying please and thank you. Including wise spending and saving habits in this list may seem like overkill – after all, they’re too young to get a job and pay bills. But getting kids into the habit of setting money aside for the future will pay off big in the long run. Learning that spending your money wisely and having a financial back up plan will serve them well throughout life.
Real World Examples
When you got your first paycheck, did you spend it all in a day? Did you carefully lay out what portion went to savings, spending and giving? Although finances may seem boring to some kids, a hands-on experience may help them to understand how important they are. On their thirteenth birthday, open a checking account with your child. Teach them how to budget and manage the expenses that you have for them each month. Clothes, entertainment, eating out and hobbies – list these costs and have your child write checks to you to pay for them. Of course, the money they earn for chores will probably not cover all these expenses, so deposit the money you would have used anyway into the account. Allow them to experience, first hand, a bank balance and how quickly money can disappear for bills.
When you think about your children’s financial futures, is debt something that you want for them? How about them relying on you for paying their bills or expenses? It’s not that you don’t want to provide for them. But you do want them to care for themselves. So start them early. You’ll both glad you did.