As a parent you understand the importance of successful money management firsthand. Every bill must be accounted for and budget balanced. It’s the only way you can manage your household and save for those bigger events in life. Your kids, on the other hand? They are not quite so money savvy and you’d like to change that. After all, smart money management will help them throughout their entire lives. So how do you teach these skills to your kids?
While every child is different, the age of your children can play a big role in how you teach them money management skills. So, to help you guide your kids down the path to fiscal responsibility and successful long-term money management, follow these tips from VantageScore Solutions.
1. Ages 3-5: Starting small with small conversations
How early can you start talking to your children about money? Earlier than you think. In fact, in many cases once a child is old enough to take part in conversations (speaking and listening) they are old enough to discuss money. Explain to them that things they see in the store — and invariably want — cost money and if they don’t have money they cannot get them. This is also a great time to introduce a piggy bank and discuss why you’re placing money in the piggy bank with your child.
2. Ages 6-8: Leading by example
Children at this age are incredibly observant of the world around them and they are old enough to ask detailed questions about the things they see — including how you handle money. Trips to the bank are a good way to show them the value you place in saving money and don’t be afraid to put things back at the store when they aren’t necessary. They will benefit from seeing it’s OK not to buy something.
3. Ages 9-10: Make learning fun
Children at this age are able to grasp more in-depth concepts and they love games. Use that to play games with your child that stress the value of saving and money management in a fun, interactive way. Whether you play through board games, like Monopoly, or through video or online sources, games where your child can win by being smart with their money will offer long-term benefits.
4. Ages 11-13: Learning to work for wages
You may have already been giving your child an allowance based on their completion of household chores but now is a great time to help them get work outside of the home. Whether it is walking dogs in the neighborhood, babysitting or mowing lawns, your child has the chance to bring in real income at this age. And when they do, sit down with them to manage it properly. Open a savings account for them and show them that some money needs to be set aside for savings and what portion can be enjoyed immediately for spending.
5. Ages 14-18: Strategies for long-term savings
With teens, a successful conversation is often all in how you frame it. Ask your teen if they want to sit down and plan out their budget and you’ll get a no. Ask them if they want to sit down and figure out how they can buy their first car, the laptop they want or go to college and they’re more apt to listen. Start with the goal in mind and backtrack from there to set a fiscal budgeting plan. Teach them the difference between gross and net income, thus budgeting and spending should be based on one’s expected net income, not gross income. Encourage your teen’s ideas throughout the process and they’ll take more ownership over the plan.