5 tips to raise money-smart kids
Children pick things up quickly: habits, sports, music, swears mumbled under your breath. Kids are always watching and learning. When we talk about financial literacy, we tend to talk about debt reduction, long-term savings goals, or retirement planning. But what we should talk about is how to give our kids a leg up in their financial futures. Here are five ways you can help your kids be smart about their money.
Set savings goals early on.
Maybe they want to save for a pack of gum, or maybe the new video game on whatever console is popular these days. Either way, setting a goal gives them something to work towards. Learning patience when it comes to spending is a habit to instill early. Bonus tip – if your child receives an allowance, make sure they are doing some sort of job to receive the money, so they understand that money isn’t just given out freely- they have to earn it. Credit cards can be a strong draw and a problem area for young adults who haven’t had to save up for the things they want.
Open a bank account.
Starting out with a piggy bank is perfectly fine when your kids are saving quarters from between the couch cushions. But, when they get to an age when they may be receiving birthday money or allowance, a bank account can be a great tool to teach them about savings. Going to make their weekly allowance deposit and seeing the balance increase on their deposit slip builds reinforcement of good money habits.
Let them make the purchase.
Completing the transaction will help to make it real – they don’t just ask for something and it is magically theirs. Letting them pay for their purchase empowers them, and it will show them that when their money is gone, it’s gone. They must prioritize which purchases they make. When it’s their money in hand, they are more aware of how much they have and can spend/save.
Let them be part of the conversation.
If you don’t talk about money in front of your kids, you may be doing them a disservice. Let them be part of some family financial decisions. Of course, they won’t be part of every decision, or the sometimes big, messy ones, but let them have a say in the small conversations. This will help them feel that their thoughts about money are valued and will build education and confidence for future money decisions.
Set a good financial example.
The days of do as I say, not as I do have passed. When you practice good financial habits, your kids are more likely to emulate them. That’s not to say that they won’t make mistakes from time to time – we all do – but, if you have good financial practices, you’ll be in a much better place to help them up when they stumble and help them learn from the experience.
So, in a world where micro-transactions are happening in every video game and the internet makes things available almost immediately, teaching your kids the importance of planning and, yes, delayed gratification, can save them a lot of financial worry in the future. Start good spending and saving habits early so your money-smart kids can grow into financially literate adults.