Many adults rank their finances as their number one source of stress. A major contributor is the lack of financial literacy programs, particularly when they were younger adults and children.
As a parent or grandparent, you can take matters into your own hands. One way is to make some simple money resolutions that you can implement throughout the year. Here are six ideas to get you started:
- Talk about money as a family, openly and often. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, “Wondering if it’s the right time to talk to your child about a money topic that’s on your mind? It’s not too early – or too late!” They offer tips on “how to adapt the conversation to where your child is developmentally”. Thinking of getting a pet? You can talk about the ongoing costs and responsibilities that come with it. Buying a new TV? Talk about what you are doing to get the most for what you want to spend. Another great resource is the Money Tree Investing podcast which talks about how to have age-appropriate conversations about money, allowance, and other important topics.
- Encourage the habit of saving as early as possible. It is often best to start with a savings goal, like a new toy or a special experience. For younger children, there’s the iconic piggy bank or a simple clear jar. For older children, you can open a savings account. Investopedia lists their “best savings accounts for kids” which includes accounts for younger children and teens. There is also bankaroo.com, a virtual bank for kids to learn how to budget, save up for goals and spend responsibly.
- Create opportunities to earn money. Giving a child a weekly allowance is a start however, you should consider assigning chores so that they have to earn the money. Encourage them to put a set percentage aside each week into savings. Greenlight offers a debit card and app that encourages kids to “earn money through chores, set savings goals, spend wisely and invest”.
- Teach your children the basics of investing. One fun way to get them started is with I’m a Shareholder Kit: The Basics About Stocks – For Kids/Teens. This award-winning book includes a coupon for $20 of their first share of stock in companies like Disney and Nintendo.
- Help them learn how to make the world a better place by being generous. Even at a young age, kids can start being generous. For younger children, it may be making cards for senior citizens or paint a “kindness rock” and leave it on the doorstep of someone who might need some cheer. Talk about the charities you support and the reasons you chose them. Engage in acts of generosity together, like buying items for a local food bank or donating pieces to a clothing drive. Give them a special chore and have them donate the money they earn to charity. Here are some family-friendly charities to consider.
- Play some games. Handling one’s money is serious business but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun learning about financial concepts. Old favorites like Monopoly and Monopoly Jr. come to mind. The U.S. Mint offers free education games online.
You can see, you don’t have to go it alone to give your kids a greater understanding of the importance of saving, spending, investing, and sharing. Since money is central to how we transact our lives, they will eventually have to learn about it. Don’t you want to be the one shaping your children’s thinking and feelings about money? So, go ahead, make, and keep at least a few of these resolutions.
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