There aren’t ‘must do’ rules about teaching our kids how to treat money. One thing for sure, is that it requires good, honest, open conversations around the table, on how we earn, save, invest; how we set goals and budgets towards enriching our quality of life. Below are a few tried and tested tips.
Little Eyes Watching us. Lead by Example.
Kids follow us with eyes and minds, observing our behavior, responses to questions, and our narrative. They follow whether we go to the supermarket well prepared with a list, avoiding temptations, and sticking to a plan. Or whether we give into temptation and venture on impulse buying.
The Value of Money. Earn, Save, Grow.
Discussions around the table on how we build a family budget, how we save for vacations, or saving to buy a new home, refurbish the house to increase its value; or pursuing new job prospects that offer more opportunities to earn, invest and grow.
Opportunity Costs and Trade Offs
The value of choice and critical thinking is a precious skill. If we choose one spending path, what is the alternative option we can’t pursue? What is the trade off and how to value pausing to think, weigh the options before making a decision.
Piggy Bank Savings
Piggy banks offer a good daily or weekly habit for all of us, grown - ups and kids to pursue, setting targets towards a goal. It offers the discussion template on what a goal can be, and the effort to save towards it.
Savings With a Purpose
A savings bank account can be towards a bigger goal, such as summer camp, or special experience with family and friends, or a purchase of something special that enriches quality of learning and life.
The Art of Giving
Discuss how giving is all about affording it if you are saving or earning towards offering help to a friend in need or to a wider social purpose.
The Cost of Debt
Borrowing to spend is different to borrowing to invest with a higher return. Games that explain debt, savings and earnings are always useful, as are explanations that debt means using someone else’s money (the bank’s) to spend or leading a lifestyle you can’t afford, carried interest and costs. So does a credit card.
Understanding spending habits is a good practice for all of us. Most important is to anticipate spending needs and budgeting for it. How about setting a monthly budget or a holiday budget with our kids, reviewing the learning experience – how budgeting helped towards savings (or not)?
The Magic of Compounding Interest (in Savings not in Debt)
What is compounding interest - can help our kids understand how quickly the hole of debt can get deeper, but also how its positive impact in earnings on savings and investments can encourage more savings.
Help them Figure Out How to Earn Money
Whether during holiday jobs, or in their first career steps, assisting kids to identify opportunities and encourage them to pursue these opportunities is precious learning and support.
The Narrative in Family History
“The language we use determines how situations occur to us” is one of the key rules in the book 3 Laws of Performance by Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan. The language we use, in how we describe family stories, achievements and our relationship to money determines how our children will define their relationship with money. We can choose an empowering path, describing our experiences from a lens of learning, progressing and leading quality of life choices.
Mind your language and habits as little eyes and minds are observing, marking the foundations of their lives.