The foundation for a solid financial future should start at a young age. Understanding finances, identifying needs from wants, and knowing the importance of budgeting are some key fundamentals that need to be taught early on. Therefore, teaching your children to be financially responsible is imperative so that they carry those money lessons into adulthood.
How to Teach Kids Important Money Lessons
Ask Them to Set Specific Financial Goals. Help them set financial goals that are specific and realistic. Ensure that they are not vague, so they understand the importance of planning for the money they have.
Help Them Start the Savings Habit. At a time where college is more expensive and careers are taking longer to build, helping your children learn the importance of saving is one of the most important money lessons. Saving for the future can be an abstract concept for kids. Parents must involve them in the conversation about saving as early as they can. Encouraging them to save a portion of their allowance for a bigger cause is a good place to start.
Help Them Clarify Needs vs. Wants. Money is a limited resource. This understanding helps them make informed decisions about spending it when and where it is absolutely needed. Having them write down their needs vs. wants can help them understand and prioritize their spending.
Encourage Them to Make Some Money for Themselves. This is a good way to help them understand that money does not come easy, and may make them think twice before spending their hard earned dollars on the newest pair of sneakers. You can let them earn money by helping around the home with small activities such as babysitting a sibling or yard work. This process can help them get comfortable with making and managing their cash.
Familiarize Them with the Concept of Credit. Help them understand that credit is not free money. Have them practice using credit by borrowing money from parents. Set up a credit limit, repayment terms, and a standard interest rate to familiarize them with these concepts. If they miss a payment, don’t hesitate to charge a small late fee.
Financially difficult times are inevitable in one’s lifetime. In the process of teaching money lessons to your kids, make sure you engage them in the conversation about your difficulties when it is age appropriate. Children often follow the footsteps of their parents. So remember not to set a bad example with your own poor financial choices.
ACCC’s Youth and Money financial education section is designed to aid parents in talking about money to kids as young as five, and up through college. Our resources are aimed towards kids to use themselves as well, with fun activities and games for all ages. Refer to these resources for more information.