Mommy I want that new video game! Dad I want the new I-Phone! Grandma I want the new Mac Book! Most parents have heard some variation of the above statements. Parents usually are the primary financial educators for their children. Time after time, I have seen young people receive sizable allowances or inheritances, without a base of knowledge in financial planning. Consider the following five points to assist the children in your life to have a responsible attitude about money.
1) Be a Role Model – The way parents spend money and the way children view money has a significant correlation. Consider discussing the family’s financial goals and plans with the children. How much you share is to your discretion, but include the younger generation in at least a portion of the monthly management. How parents deal with money issues, from the monthly bills to planning family vacations can be important in teaching the children money management and the value of money.
2) Encourage Savings and Investments – To encourage children to save money is one of the simplest ways to encourage a responsible attitude about money. This could include designating a portion of a child’s allowance to a saving account, or making gifts of cash directly to an account in their name. Parents can discuss the account statements with the children and introduce the concept “ paying yourself first”.
3) Develop a Sense of Financial Empowerment – It is important that parents develop responsible spending habits by well thought-out choices. In order to guide and direct rather than dictate the savings and spending. Take children on window-shopping trips to compare prices and products and adopt the mind set that every trip to a store is an exercise leading to a potential purchase. For example, consider limiting impulse buying by implementing a rule that prices and products are compared at a minimum of three locations.
4) Give Unto Others – Involve children in the financial decisions regarding philanthropy. By helping children contribute time or money to a charitable cause, it can teach them that money is important in ways others than personal consumption.
Reference: Matthew P. Bartolomei, Financial Advisor http://www.fa.smithbarney.com/mattbartolomei/index.htm