Here are 6 helpful ways you can raise your money savvy 21st generation kids because as a parent, wanting the best for your children is paramount. You want them to be safe and secure and you want to lay a foundation that they can build upon to do well in life. The question, then, is whether you are teaching your children a key lesson that will impact whether they will do well and have a stable future. Financial education plays a vital role in ensuring this.
Money is central to transacting life on a daily basis. Where we live, what we eat, the clothes we wear, the car we drive, health care, education, child-rearing, gift giving, vacations, entertainment, air-conditioning, insurance, security—you name it, money is involved. Yet, many parents are not enabling their kids for all these responsibilities.
Recent surveys found that nearly 50% of parents miss opportunities to talk to their kids about money, and most are very reluctant to discuss financial topics with their children.
Most kids, on the other hand, are eager for their parents to share their wisdom, and end up learning about money one way or the other from other places and life experiences. Playing a key role in shaping your children’s feelings, thinking and values about money is your duty. You need to give them the gift of financial literacy from an early age and like every duty, it takes patience and consistency.
1. START EARLY
The earlier you start teaching a child about money, the better! Lessons should ideally begin before age seven, because research shows that money habits and attitudes are already formed by then. Once your kids are old enough to know they should not be sticking money in their mouths, you should introduce them to the concept of money, explain what it is and how it is used.
Actually showing them how money works is more effective. So let them see you buying stuff with cash. Even if you pay with a debit or credit card, explain to your kids that you’re using your money to make purchases. By doing it over and over again, it becomes a habit to them.
2. TEACH THEM TO SAVE
Your children’s early interactions with money will likely involve spending. So it is important to teach them from a young age that money is not just for spending—they should be saving money regularly, too.
Learning to save is not just an essential money habit. It teaches;
- Discipline and delayed gratification.
- Goal-setting and planning.
- Stresses being prepared.
- Security and independence.
Help your kids get in the habit of saving by giving them a piggy bank or savings jar where they can deposit cash. As a parent you must be supportive of this with your words and actions.
With young kids, you will likely have more luck teaching them to save for short-term goals—such as a toy they really want—rather than for the future. As they get older, they will be able to save for longer-term goals.
You can also encourage their kids to save more by agreeing to match the amount they save naira for naira or by a certain percentage. If your children are old enough to advance from a piggy bank to a real bank, you could take advantage of banking services that allow and encourage kid saving schemes.
3. OFFER THEM MONEY EARNING OPPORTUNITIES
Kids need to have money of their own so they can learn how to make decisions about using it. An allowance can accomplish that.
However, you should consider requiring your kids to do certain chores to earn their allowance. Money earned tends to have more value than money received!
4. EXPOSE THEM TO SMART SPENDING TOOLS
Budgeting is a key tool that helps keep children’s spending in check. An allowance system should be introduced so they could learn to live within a budget. They can keep track of how much they have coming in and going out and how much they are saving. Learning how to budget now will help them when they enter the real world.
Kids should be taught that spending is not always about buying things they want. They will have to spend money on things they need when they are adults and make the choice to pay people to do things for them.
In essence, they need to make decisions about what they are willing to pay for and what they are not because personal finance is about decisions.
5. TEACH THEM THAT MONEY CAN GROW
Saving money is a great habit. But if you want your kids to learn how to truly build wealth, teach them about investing. If you do not understand investing well, you could give your kids a book that explains how it works.
You can help children get started with investing by opening a custodial account with a brokerage, or starting a trust fund for them.
6. MODEL GOOD FINANCIAL BEHAVIOUR
Just as important as the lessons you teach your kids about money, are the ways you discuss and handle money when you are around them. For example, if you complain about having to spend too much on certain things and then take your kids on a shopping spree, you are sending mixed messages.
Make sure you model the behaviors around money that you want your children to adopt. If you want your children to develop good spending and saving habits, they need to see you making smart spending and saving choices.
In short, practice what you preach. And preach with consistency. Educating your children about personal finance is a process that can take time. But if you put in the effort and continuously communicate a clear message about money, you will instill good habits that will serve your children well.
One of the key strategies to make sure that the next generation lives a better life is to expose them to information, opportunities, and experiences outside of their current economic class/reality – and it all starts with you, mum!