Teaching Children Financial Literacy

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Parents share a lot with their children in the hope that the information will help them grow into successful adults. But there is one topic most parents try to avoid because of the difficulty of the subject... it's money.  As a Financial Advisor in Middle Tennessee, we gather with multiple generations of families, sometimes together and other times individually, to discuss finances.  It's healthy to have open conversation about finances for learning experiences and awareness.

For many parents, the idea of having the "money talk" with their kids is a terrifying thought. The biggest reason parents avoid the topic is they don't believe they know enough about money themselves and fear they will give their children the wrong information.  We attempt to give our clients that are parents the tools and resources to have these conversations with their children in a way that is fun, educational, and impactful.

Although discussing the topic of money with your kids can be uncomfortable, it is a necessary step in their development. In today's world, rarely do schools teach courses on how to handle money the right way. Without learning money management skills at home, your kids are going to be in for a few nasty surprises when they get older. 

Are you worried about your children's money skills? Start with the following four tips for teaching financial literacy to your kids so that they are prepared.

1. Let Kids Experiment

One effective way to help kids learn how to make budgets is to give them a chance to make mistakes on their own. A small allowance for accomplishing tasks each week is the perfect incentive for children to learn how to budget. Do they want to blow this week's money on candy and a cheap toy or save up a few weeks to get something they really want? Of course, some children will still be impulsive and want to spend their funds right away, but better they learn to make mistakes with $10 than $10,000.

2. Include Children in Household Budgeting

Do you have a shopping or entertainment budget each month? Try including an older child in budget planning for the next month. Kids learn quickly when they have to stay home bored for two weeks because they blew the entertainment fund during the first half of the month. Another great idea is to set a grocery budget for an upcoming trip, make your week's list, and then take your child to the grocery store with you. As you place items in your cart, have your child add up the cost of each item until you hit your limit. This is another great exercise in making choices based on limited funds. 

3. Gameify It

Turn budgeting and saving money into a game. Give your shopping lists to your younger kids and let them search online or in the newspaper for coupons and sales. Maybe you could promise to put a percentage of the money they save into a bank account for them to purchase something special down the road.

4. Make Them Earn It

Knowing how to save, invest, and spend money is important, but one of the best things you can do for your children is to instill a good work ethic in them by letting them earn money on their own. Whether your teen works part-time at the movie theater or you help your little ones start a lemonade stand, the willingness to work hard and be rewarded is one of the best financial lessons you can pass on to them. I'm sure you have some of your own stories to share with them along the way.

These tips are only the start. Use the opportunity of teaching your kids about financial literacy to learn more about it yourself! As a Financial Advisor, we often make it a family affair during parts of the financial planning process so it's fun and beneficial for everyone!

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.