"Good, better, best. Never rest until good be better and better best."
– Mother Goose
Google tells me that Mother Goose didn’t *actually* exist — but she sure was smart, eh?
We’re heading into spring … and just a couple weeks remain here in "tax season" (what we tax professionals call it). I do hope that, by now, you’ve taken the steps to be in touch with my office, and that we’re already working on your file.
Next week, I’ll have some advice for "procrastinators" (you know who you are!), but needless to say — let’s not have you be in their ranks, ok?
In my Strategy Note this week, I’d like to address moms and dads. We’ve seen many parents in our offices these last few months, and I’ve asked a few of them how they handle finances with their young children. Well, many parents have no plan for training their children how to understand, and handle finances.
I’d like to help you fix that. We’ve put together some strategic advice to help you raise financially-literate children, in hopes that by the time they reach adulthood, they’ll be contributing to your family economy — rather than draining it!
Let me know what you think …
[And again–drop us a line to get in our queue … and send your friends our way! We reward generously for referrals because they always end up being our best clients.]
"Real World" Personal Strategy
Money Lessons For Young Children
Perhaps I’m biased, but I believe that it really is never too early to start teaching your children about good money habits. Obviously, by doing so, you are preparing them for the uncertain future. You’re also establishing a family culture, wherein money is handled with maturity and openness.
But the best news is that helping them to develop these habits can be fairly simple! I’ve put together some basic steps — many of these may not seem like rocket science, but my job is to be a coach and a goad for you to do the things which you already may "know" to do!
1) Give them an allowance–with strings. Don’t just give them an allowance for doing nothing — this actually defeats the purpose! You can buy your young children whatever they ask for, so they don’t need "spending money". Instead, see an allowance as a training tool: your children should learn that money is earned by working. Believe it or not, this isn’t an obvious connection for a young child! Because a kindergartner truly is able to help with small chores around the house, you can put them to work and let them earn their allowance this way. Rather than seeing it as a "bribe", or some sort of indentured servitude, this is a critical knowledge base for a young child.
2) The old lemonade stand. Encourage this! And do it with adult supervision. Your child will learn how to make a product, market it and sell it. While the idea is to teach good money habits, they are also learning valuable life lessons — nothing sells itself, after all. (Though with cute kids, that’s sometimes the case!)
3) Saving and investing. Rather than showering your young child with gift after gift, encourage them to go through the process of working towards a savings goal. You can always "supplement" this process, but having your child save up for an item will teach them that nothing comes for free. In return, children also learn that the items you buy them have real value and should be treated as such.
This might, even, cut down on those "negotiations" so familiar to parents who bring their children into stores!
4) Cold, hard cash. A lot of children nowadays are so used to seeing parents pay with debit and credit cards that they may not know what actual money looks like! This is a new-generational issue, and it’s important that your children learn that money is more than a mouse click, or a card swipe. Show your kids the different types of money – coins, bills, etc. and tell them the monetary amount for each.
When you go shopping, let your child have a try at paying for certain items. This will help them feel quite grown up, and again — they see that transactions don’t just "happen", they cost.
What about you? How have you gone about introducing your children to money? I’d be interested to hear some other tactics, and may share them with the list next week.
But until then, I remain your kindly tax professional — out to save the world from unnecessary taxes … and from young adults still living on Mommy/Daddy credit!
To You and Your Family’s Financial Health!