Real Talk: How to Tell My Kids Money Don’t Grow On Trees

April 1, 2018

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We are raising blessed kids who want for nothing. We want our kids to be financially savvy adults.

However, we also want our kids to know that mommy and daddy aren’t made of money.

Either way, we want to start to our kids early with intentionally teaching good habits that will last.
Studies show that the earlier you start financial training the better.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wrote in a report in November 2017, “Starting financial education early, with age-appropriate and relevant information, gives young people more chances to develop the key building blocks of financial capability for adulthood. It also gives them the opportunity to build their financial capability before they begin making financial decisions that could affect their financial well-being for years to come.”

As a mom of three, here are a few tips I’ve learned that have helped me get our kids on the right track to good financial habits.

Teach Your Children well

You must model good financial habits for your children. Parents are your children’s first teachers so it is only fitting that we teach them about money. Your children need to see you making good financial choices. For example, you need to show them the importance of paying yourself first or reducing debt.

Share that your wonderful knowledge and experience with your kids.

Explain to them why you make some of the choices you do like building an emergency savings or paying down debt. Then knowing why you are doing what you are doing will teach them far more than just seeing you do it. Also, don’t be afraid to be transparent about your financial missteps and what you learned from them.

Share with your kids age appropriate resources that can help them learn about money. Feed The Pig is a great resource. Also, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Money As You Grow page is a great resource. Warren Buffett’s Secret Millionaires Club is another, for younger kids.

There are also some great games that can help. Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Junior and “Net Worth, The Fun Money Game” are big family fun night hits in my house. And of course, good ole Monopoly is always a family favorite.

Utilize Technology and the Latest Apps

Kids love gadgets and today’s young people live by their mobile devices. Look into mobile apps that can help you teach them good financial habits. There are several other money-related apps that teach about saving, budgeting, investing, you name it. But be sure to do your research about them including reading the reviews so you can be sure to pick the right fit for your child and your child’s needs.

Make sure you talk to your child about credit and debt

Teaching your kids about the basics of credit is important, including how to maintain a good credit score as they enter adulthood. I remember when I first went to college, there were credit card applications at every event and as a freshman in college with no job, I received 3 credits cards that I used to buy pizza and shoes. I saw now that was the most expensive pizza ever since I carried a balance on my card for 7 years (through college and law school) and because my debt to income ratio was out of whack, my credit score took a hit. Now, thanks to laws like the Card Act, it is harder for banks and credit card companies to target young adults with credit card offers, but credit cards and debt still is a major issue for young adults so we have to educate them early.

Starting early and reinforcing good habits often will out your kids on the path of financial stability and build the proper foundation for long term financial success.

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Tameika Isaac Devine

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