At the present, it feels as if we are straying further and further away from the days of achievable adolescent financial independence; but, as my father often reminds me, today’s youth’s heavy reliance on their parent’s income wasn’t always that way. Take my father, for instance: he often shares stories of his childhood, detailing days spent working from the minute he was old enough to be hired. He did everything from delivering newspapers to working as a grocery store clerk! And, at a very young age, he learned the responsibilities that come with earning a living and the value of money.
However, nowadays we see less and less children seeking employment opportunities early in life. With that that comes a decreased knowledge of money’s real value (not just its numerical one). But this is information important to know! Here’s how to communicate about finances with your kids in a comprehensive way: let’s dive into teaching your kids to be money-conscious in 2020.
The Realities of The Situation
To openly preface, this task is not an easy one: even I, a legal adult, find myself wanting to spend my paychecks splurging on unnecessary and utterly unaffordable items. Although it can be good (and well-deserved) to “treat yourself” from time to time, an important part of being money-conscious is knowing how to budget.
Even though your children may not be the ones responsible for paying the bills and buying the groceries, allowing them to spend all of their money on clothes, games, and other non-essential expenditures instills poor lessons for the future. Simply put, they will never know how to save!
In order to set your children up for a successful and financially-independent future, they must learn the ins-and-outs of safe spending. Although it might feel like this information is going in one ear and out of the other, constantly reminding them the available tools for saving and simplifying is a great place to start.
Even better, practice what you preach! Serve as an example for your children and make it known when in the face of a tempting purchase, you demonstrate self-control. Explain the reasons for saving and refrain from spending! Children pick up on a plethora of behaviors that don’t even realize, and saving money can be one of them.
Teachings Kids to be Money-Conscious Through Budgeting
I know what you’re probably wondering, “How can I teach my child to budget in ways that they will understand?” Well, consider using the “Save, Share, and Spend Method.” Start with “save”: as your children earns money, whether it be through an allowance or an outside source, set aside a portion of those funds for “saving.” My recommended amount is roughly 10% of their total earnings, but this cut can be adjusted to fit your individual children’s needs. For younger children, putting this money into a piggy bank or other fun object is a great way to make earning both interactive and exciting!
The “share” portion of this method incorporates philanthropy into your child’s spending. Instilling the values of charity will greatly widen their outlook on where their money should go. Picking a cause, explaining it to your child, and having them participate in giving back is not only a great use of their earnings, but will also make them more inclined to donate in the future. Again, professionals recommend at least 10% of income be set aside for charity; however, the amount is completely up to parental discretion.
Once specified amounts have been set aside for “saving” and “sharing,” the remainder of your child’s earnings may be used for spending. This category allows for your child to invest in purchases that will excite and inspire them, but it never hurts to be a reminder that it is not necessary to spend all of their money at once. In fact, emphasizing that extra earnings can be put towards accomplishing long-term goals will help prevent your child from jumping at their first opportunity to buy.
In working through this “Save, Share, and Spend” method, your child will gain a better understanding of the importance of budgeting in the future.
It’s Not Easy Being Green
The concept of money-consciousness is challenging for all of us, regardless of age; however, in order to ensure a stable future, it’s a vital concept to learn. Therefore, consider practicing these lessons of wise spending and budgeting with your child from a young age, ensuring that as they grow older, they will make well-informed financial decisions. Soon, your child will blossom into your own mini financier, making smarter decisions each and every day.