There are plenty of skills in life that are learned the hard way. Money management doesn’t have to be! Unfortunately, we can all reflect upon a time when a credit card balance seemed out of control, a large purchase we made felt coerced, or when we asked ourselves that age-old question, “where is all my money going”?
Imagine going into financial decisions with knowledge far beyond your years. It may not be feasible for those of us further along in our financial journeys, but we can certainly try to make the next generation’s experiences better. The best way to prepare for success is to understand money and feel confident in money-related decisions.
It may not seem like the most fun topic to discuss, but it can be a casual conversation and is truly a life-changing investment. Instead of a passive attitude towards kids and their finances, we can take charge of the conversation without making it boring or scary.
Here are a few ways to get started!
Piggy banks are typical and arguably the most adorable way to introduce saving to many children. It is a great strategy to give children a tangible item to use for saving money. The feel of money, differences in denominations, colors, and sizes can all be learned at this stage.
Shopping with kids can facilitate teaching moments! Even if many of your purchases are made with cards (debit or credit), you can opt to get a paper receipt to show kids that there is something behind swiping, tapping, or digitally connecting that magic money card and receiving products.
Short-term goals setting is a great idea to encourage children to save money for the things or experiences that they want. Going beyond the piggy bank with a savings account at GMFCU will show children transactions that affect the balance in their account.
But where do kids get money to save?
Many can recall the exciting times of opening birthday or holiday cards with cash gifts or checks from a generous relative but there are so many opportunities to make another teachable moment.
- An allowance, in exchange for weekly responsibilities, can teach children that work correlates with money. This can also facilitate the illusion of salary where a simple budget can come into play.
- Odd jobs for family members, neighbors, and other community members are a good way to make money. Depending on your child’s age, they can do jobs like babysitting, pet walking, lawn care, snow removal, or countless other odds and ends.
Psychologically, earned money feels different than gifted money. Children have the opportunity to learn an array of life skills through proper money management. Saving leads to purchases made where the child can feel proud of their accomplishment. This can also lead your child to treat purchases with care as they now know the value of a dollar. The confidence gained by learning about finances can keep kids from feeling pressure or anxiety in financial situations later in life.
So, start the conversation and start getting kids comfortable talking about money. Check out GMFCU for opportunities with youth accounts. Don’t forget our youth accounts that make learning and earning competitive and fun!