Sponsored: Teaching Kids & Teens Healthy Financial Habits
It is never too early to teach children and adolescents about budgeting and finance. Even the youngest of kids can learn how to manage money in a healthy way. The goal is for them to create habits that move with them into adulthood and ensure they make wise financial decision throughout their lives.
Modeling good behaviors
For young kids, it’s important to model healthy behavior related to money. Take your children with you to the bank so they can begin to learn the process and language surrounding depositing or withdrawing money. Pay with cash when possible so kids learn that money is a means of currency with value. It’s harder to learn this when the adults in their lives always pay with cards. Keep a positive attitude surrounding money and work to not argue over bills or debt. This helps children develop a neutral or optimistic opinion of money, as opposed to seeing it as something that should cause stress or anger.
Needs vs. wants
Helping young kids understand the differences between needs and wants will help them in the future when they’re making spending choices. Many caregivers assume children automatically know the difference between needs and wants, but this is a concept that must be taught. To put it simply, a need is something you must have to survive such as food, water or shelter. A want is something that would be nice to have but isn’t a necessity, such as a new video game.
Earnings and allowances help children and teens learn how to budget. Whether they earn money from completing chores or are given an allowance, having a regular income will help promote financial literacy. These tactics help them understand cash flow and what it will be like to earn a paycheck later. For this to be constructive, the allowance needs to be paid in a precise amount on a consistent schedule.
Kids and teens can benefit greatly from learning how to save money early in life. One way to do this is to set aside part of their allowance or chore earnings in a “savings” jar. This helps them see visually how beneficial it is to set aside money each time they’re paid. This habit will hopefully transfer as they age and their income increases. For older kids, many banks have the option of checking and savings accounts. For instance, Champion Credit offers a program called Explore Teen Savings account, that allows kids 13 and up to expand their knowledge, use a debit card, and start establishing credit. For those that are younger, choose the Explore Savings account.
Begin early talking to your kids and teens about investing. If you have investment accounts, show your children graphs and numbers related to the stock market. Initiating an investment account for your child’s thirteenth birthday would help him or her feel more vested in the stock market. For birthdays and holidays, family members can deposit additional money so the youth has more “cash” to purchase stocks. Teach young people terminology like “low risk, low return – high risk, high return” or “diversified portfolio.”
Parents tend to wait until the high school or college years to help kids and teens learn about budgeting and finance, but there is so much to learn when they are younger. All of this knowledge will cumulate to create healthy adult habits. For additional suggestions and information, Champion Credit Union offers the Money Manager Tool that dives deep into budgeting and financial goals.