By Jay Shareef and Chris Rhoads
Children are naturally curious. And today they are exposed to product placements in movies and games and are developing interest in products being promoted by online influencers. With all they are able to view online, it’s important to have a conversation about money when they are young.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are three ways you can start the conversation about finances with your children.
If you want your kids to grasp the importance of handling money wisely, let them watch you make financial decisions and model what you want them to learn.
The number-one money habit children learn from their parents is spending habits—good or bad. If you spend money recklessly, your kids will see that. If you rely on credit cards to cover expenses or argue with your spouse about finances, they’ll accept that behavior as the norm. Your actions set a precedent, so be intentional about how you model money management to your kids and let their watchful eyes be a motivator to change any negative financial habits.
Since many areas of personal finance aren’t visible, sometimes a silent model isn’t enough. That’s why it’s vital to start the conversation now. Talking to your kids about money regularly leads to kids who are more financially literate. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn-out discussion. Just let them in on your thinking and decision making as you go about your day-to-day life. At the grocery store, explain why you buy the off-brand cereal; at the bank, explain why the bankkeeps your money and why you only take what you need from the ATM. And these days, it might be a good idea to talk about inflation and how rising prices can affect everyone. These real-world scenarios help cement the whys and hows of money in your child’s mind.
For financial understanding to truly sink in, kids need to experience their own successes and failures. On a practical level, give your 5-year-old money to buy something at the store so they learn the value of different items and realize that, to obtain something like a toy, an exchange of money needs to take place. Try letting your 10-year-old figure out the cost of a new video game, plus tax, and help them save up allowance money to pay for it. Let your teenager buy their back-to-school clothes with a set amount of money.
Seeking out financial literacy classes in your area or online is another great way to introduce the topic of money management to your children. As they get older, you may even choose to guide them in investing some of their hard-earned money, letting them make some of the decisions. It may seem a little scary at first, but we all learn best by doing, so allowing your kids to make mistakes can teach them valuable life-long lessons.
Whether you’re teaching your children to save their own money to buy a video game or explaining the importance of an emergency savings fund, it’s important to bring financial decisions into your regular conversations.
Would you like some guidance from a professional you can trust as you set your kids up for success and save for your family’s future? If you don’t already have an advisor helping you do that, reach out to the WealthFlow Financial team at (301) 798-5250 or schedule a phone call now.
Jay Shareef is vice president, financial advisor, federal benefits consultant, and co-founder at WealthFlow Financial. As a U.S. Army veteran, Jay is passionate about helping federal employees create a bulletproof plan for retirement and navigate the often confusing and complicated federal benefits landscape. He spends his days educating and providing clients with unbiased insurance benefits and retirement strategies to help his clients create guaranteed income for life. As a problem-solver and trustworthy resource, Jay always puts his clients and their needs first so they can find financial peace of mind. He holds the Chartered Federal Employee Benefits ConsultantSM (ChFEBCSM) credential. To learn more about Jay, connect with him on LinkedIn.
Chris Rhoads is a co-founder and vice president of WealthFlow Financial. As a registered investment advisor and independent financial professional, Chris is committed to helping his clients in retirement and he takes a holistic approach to financial planning that includes insurance and risk management, investments and wealth management, retirement income planning, and estate and tax planning. He holds the Chartered Federal Employee Benefits ConsultantSM (ChFEBCSM) certification. Chris has been married to his wife, Tia, since 2009 and they live in Frederick, MD, together with their two young daughters. In his free time, Chris enjoys traveling, watching sports, and being active in causes about which he cares passionately. To learn more about Chris, connect with him on LinkedIn.