Have you ever wished children knew the value of a dollar? Were you ever told when you were a kid that when you wanted something, you should get a job and pay for it yourself? 🙋
Here’s the thing. Kids aren’t going to understand these things if you don’t teach it to them. I remember my dad being so angry when my sister and I graduated high school at the top of our classes and had no idea how to balance a checkbook. For whatever reason, the schools didn’t think it was necessary to teach us these life skills. We had to learn trigonometry and pre-calculus though. That was important!🤔
1. Give them the opportunity to manage an allowance. It’s time for some good old fashioned chores. Children need to know what it’s like to work for money. Set up a notebook like a checkbook. Have them log how much money they make for doing various chores. If they owe you money as a punishment for something or if they spend money on candy, toys, etc, show them how to deduct it from their balance. Have them figure out how much they have left. Ask them how much more they’ll need to get what they want. How long is it going to take to earn that money? Is doing all that work to earn the money for what they want worth it? Have similar conversations about your own finances at home? Does it make sense to buy the fancy Louis Vuitton you want or would it make more sense and be more worthwhile to take the family away on a mini-vacation?
2. Set reasonable limits. Let your children know what it is and isn’t ok to splurge on and when. We can’t rack up hundreds of dollars of bills at the mall every week, but it is okay to buy a nice present for someone’s wedding or another special occasion.
3. Encourage your kids to work. Your child may not be at a legal age to work, but there is always money to be had helping someone take care of their child, mowing the lawn, raking leaves for an elderly neighbor, washing dishes for a family member, etc. For those who are able to get a job, your first part time job not only serves as an opportunity to learn how to manage and save money, but also gives you the opportunity to learn responsibility and time management.
4. Teach your children how to make good financial choices. Kids need to learn why it’s important to save money and not spend it right away. Teach them about interest and investing. You’ll be surprised how many young children are willing to allow you to make their money grow and delay gratification when someone is willing to explain to them the reasons behind that choice.
5. Help your child learn patience. We all want to take our money and blow out on vacations and material objects. We don’t do it though. Explain your financial choices. Why does it make sense to wait a few years to buy a house rather than buying it right now? Is there something going on with the housing market? Realize that your kids don’t know any of these things until someone teaches them about it. It’s probably not going to happen in school so it’s up to you. If the sneakers are a fad, explain what that means.
6. Discuss family finances with your child. There are valid reasons behind the ways you choose to spend. What are they? Once your child understands that, they’ll likely be more responsible with their own money. If they see you spending recklessly, they’ll do the same. If, however, you bought 50 pairs of the brand new sneaker that came out so you could wait for it to be sold out and then flip it on ebay, explain that choice to them as well so they understand why your decisions make sense even though they may look reckless to an outsider who doesn’t understand your master plan.
7. Practice what you preach. You are their first and most influential role model. If you want your child to be fiscally responsible, you must be as well. Remember, they are watching what you do, not what you say!
The financial future of your children lies in what they are taught at young ages. If you do this when they’re young, they’re less likely to end up in debt!