My parents taught me a lot of things about life, but the one thing that never seemed to be a priority was how to properly manage money.This lack of financial discipline carried over to my adulthood, which is when I had a real difficult time managing my funds in the beginning. However, I wasn’t going to make this same mistake and decided to teach my children some money management skills early on. I took a varied approach, including helping them opening their own savings account, which makes them comfortable dealing with banks, paying them for doing jobs so they learn the value of earning money, and encouraging wise spending anytime they wanted to by something. These, as well as gradually introducing them to the adult world of finance and spending can make them money masters by the time they hit their teens. Here are the top tips I learnt during my years of parenting, to effectively teach your children solid money management skills.
Open a Savings Account
A lot of parents open a savings account shortly after their child is born, but the child really isn’t an active part of that account. It’s best to open an account where the child can play an active role once they are able to understand the concept of money. Children often receive money for special occasions like birthdays or holidays and its fun for them to feel “grown up” for the child when they take that money to the bank to deposit it. These are life-long saving skills that carry through into adulthood.
Do Not Pay for Chores–Pay for Actual Work
A lot of parents use an allowance system for kids, paying them for keeping their room clean or for chores like doing dishes. I never did that, because some things are just life skills and a part of everyday life nobody is going to pay you later on in life. Instead, I broke down job descriptions into two categories: household responsibilities and paid jobs.Some chores such as cleaning a room or taking out the garbage is considered to be part of everyday living meaning that they won’t be paid to do them when they are adults. But other chores such as yard work, gardening or heavy duty cleaning are jobs that you may normally pay someone else to do. So, in this case, I would pay the children for this type of work. This strategy teaches children the value of earning money and hard work.
Learning Financial Penalties
Real life is full of financial penalties such as traffic citations, overdraft fees and other fines. Kids need to learn this early on. Children are mischievous and when they intentionally do something that costs money, don’t cover for them. Instead, punish them withdrawing money from their own savings account and clearly explain why their own misbehavior led to the withdrawal. This will teach them take responsibility for their own actions.
Encourage Wise Spending
A parent loves their children which means our instinct triggers us to buy them the things they want. But this doesn’t teach anything about money management. It’s fun for a child when they want a special toy or piece of clothing, to purchase it with their own money. They’re going to learn valuable life skills and patience if you allow them to save and pay for some purchases all on their own.
A lot of people know little to nothing about just how investments work, but it’s a skill that should be developed early on and will pay off in the long run. If you do investments yourself, take the children with you to the broker and allow them to observe the process. Teaching your children the very basics of how investments work will only help them later on. Combining this with the basic skills of managing a bank account, taking up a job and have a savings strategy will allow them to become experts on managing their own money.
Featured photo credit: Sean Donnerty via flickr.com