As is the case with many adults, financial decision-making can be overwhelming, frustrating and sometimes even lead to regret. This can also lead to parents being reluctant to speak with their kids about finance. In fact, a study done by ING Direct found that 87% of teens admitted they don’t know much about personal finance. But what parents may not have considered is how they can use their personal experiences as a lesson to teach their children about financial consequences.
With time comes perspective and experience, so it’s important to broach the financial conversation with your children knowing that you don’t have to be a financial genius to teach them helpful lessons for the future.
Here are four lessons you can start with to help teach your kids how to build a solid financial future:
1. Earning Money
This is one of the first experiences your child will have when it comes to financial matters. Whether you offer a small stipend for household chores or your child has a part-time job after school, earning money through physical or mental effort helps your child associate value to labor.
2. The Importance of Budgeting
However your child earns money, discuss how he or she can create a budget with the earnings. Some parents require the income a child earns to be used for their discretionary spending – things like gas, going out with friends, or buying a new clothing item. Help your child create a system where a portion of his or her money will go into savings, an emergency fund, their car or phone payment, etc.
Budgeting helps children learn the value of money and gain a clearer picture of the time and effort involved in obtaining something of value.
3. Saving Money
This topic seems like a no-brainer, yet saving money is often not discussed with younger generations. As young men and women move away from the family home, many are unprepared for the shock of monthly bills and being tied to contractual obligations, such as rent, phone, and car payments.
By having a firm grasp on saving money and budgeting ahead of time, your child can bypass “bill shock”, in addition to feelings of anxiety and confusion when he or she moves out of the home.
Teach younger children how to save through the use of a piggy bank, and older children through opening a savings account and setting up various goals.
4. The Difference of Needs vs. Wants
This is a crucial discussion to have with your child. We “need” food, shelter, clothing and security to survive – whereas our “want” is something we desire but do not depend on to live. Teach your child that “needs” should be built into their budget, whereas a splurge or extra money fund is what should be paying for the “wants” in life.
Of course, this can segue into a much broader discussion of why your child wants something – possibly because his or her friends have it, because they think it will make them more likeable, etc. There are many helpful conversations that can come from this topic that can benefit your children for years to come!
Plan to start having regular discussions about money with your children. Teaching them while they’re young can help them build a strong and positive relationship with money, and instill in them the value of earning money, budgeting, saving, and setting up a secure future.
Financial adviser, retirement wealth strategist, founder of Strategy Financial Group and author of “Climbing the Retirement Mountain,” Calvin Goetz is an Investment Adviser Representative who holds the Series 65 securities license, is life and health insurance licensed in the state of Arizona and is a member of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisor Group™ and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA). For more information, visit StrategyFinancialGroup.com. Investment advice is offered through Strategy Financial Services, LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Insurance and annuity products are offered separately through Strategy Financial Insurance, LLC.