Teaching Your Children to Manage Money
Let’s face it. Most people don’t love talking about money. And in the chaos of family life, lots of other priorities come up faster and louder, taking your attention away from teaching your children about money. But if they are going to manage their own finances, and someday yours as well, you want to know that they are as prepared as possible.
Start Talking About It
Things become easier to talk about the more you talk about them. Make financial conversations as natural as talking about sports, hobbies, or food by simply doing it often. Talk about quick and short-term decisions like what brands to buy at the grocery store; and the long-term ones like how and where to save your investments.
Over time, as these conversations become natural, you will be gifting your children with financial literacy. So often, people don’t know what they don’t know. If no one has told them, they won’t know about paying down and staying out of debt, how to research and choose health insurance benefits, how to avoid excess fees, and more.
Put It Into Practice
It’s not just about practicing what you preach, although that’s a start. Help your kids put these conversations into practice as well. Whether they have an allowance, a summer job, student debt, car payments, help them learn to budget, save, plan and spend wisely. Explain that wise financial choices lead you to your goals. Guide them as they set their own goals and make plans toward those. Like any healthy exercise, financial management takes practice and energy but the more you do it, the better you become.
Make It Fun
We get it. Not everyone gets as jazzed about financial conversations as we do. But there’s no reason that finances have to be a bore. Turn it into a game. See who can save the most this week or this month, research the best interest rate, or the best deal on the next investment.
Keep the conversations going as life changes and financial decisions grow. The more stigma you can take out of money, the more you can all learn together and become better prepared for a secure financial future.