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5 Tips For Teaching Money Management To Children

5 Tips For Teaching Money Management To Children

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.

  1. 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.

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  1. 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.

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  1. 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.

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  1. 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.

  1. Investments

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

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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