I get it – parenting is work. And it seems like the media is constantly bombarding us with information about what we MUST DO TODAY to be a better parent and raise the most extraordinary kids in the universe.
But let’s be realistic here – how much time do parents really have to follow-through with every piece of advice before their kids are 18?
So when you read that it’s basically up to parents to teach kids about money – because schools are unlikely to teach them – that’s just one more thing to weigh you down, to make you feel like the parenting demands never cease.
Fortunately, there are a few fairly simple ways you can incorporate money lessons into your everyday life with your kids – and yes, even if you weren’t an economics major or hold a CFP.
Keep these tips in the back of your mind and use them the next time the opportunity arises to provide your kids with a good foundational understanding of money:
Talk to Your Kids About Money
One of the most beneficial things parents can do for their kids financial futures is to talk to them about money. This could mean a discussion about your family budget or explaining how credit cards work and the difficulties of being in debt.
Whenever you find yourself doing something with money, whether it’s writing out checks or considering the cost of college, talk to your kids about it. Including them in a discussion of real-world decisions can be a lasting lesson.
Take Your Kids Shopping
And yes, I do realize to many parents this can be a chore. Between the whining, complaining and begging, taking kids shopping isn’t always easy. Perhaps getting your kids involved in the process could help. If you’re going to the grocery store, your older kids could maybe help put together a shopping list (and maybe even plan a meal of their own), while all ages can help search for items on the list in the store.
Shopping along side you and getting involved in the process can teach kids lessons about shopping, needs vs. wants, the cost of different items, and what it means to take advantage of sales and coupons. And don’t forget to include your kids in online shopping experiences as well.
Hand Over Cash to Your Kids
While allowance can provide kids with great lessons about budgeting, saving and other money lessons, setting up a weekly allowance might be too much effort for some families. Instead, think of opportunities to hand over money to your kids and let them make decisions about how to spend it.
If you’re on vacation, give kids an allowance for how much they can spend on souvenirs. You could also give your kids a set amount you are willing to spend at the art supplies store, toy store or for older kids, when you do your back-to-school clothes shopping. Even these small lessons can teach kids about budgeting money.
Give Your Kids Chores
While the connection between chores and money might not be clear at first, research shows that giving kids chores makes them more self-sufficient and better prepared for the workplace. Start with a few easy chores like feeding the cat or sweeping the floor and if over time more responsibility can be handed over to your kids. It might take some effort to get a chore system started, but in the end you’ll be doing less house work!
Include Kids in Big Financial Transactions
The next time you need to buy a new house, car, or any other major purchase, get your kids involved – they will learn valuable first hand knowledge that will stick with them in adulthood. Jeff Tomasulo told Greenwich Time that he recently included his kids in the entire process of buying a new home: “My 9-year-old knows more about mortgages and interest rates and the process of dealing with a bank to borrow money than most people.”