Mom, just write a check!
Do your children have only one clear understanding of money—how to spend it? Do you hear, "Mom, just write a check," when at the store? Children, as well as adults, need to learn the uses and values of money, along with the responsibility that comes with it.
By the time teenagers graduate from high school, we expect them to be ready to handle their finances. We hope they have all the knowledge needed to use money wisely, yet reaching adulthood with the insight and incentive to be a good money manager does not just happen.
It takes a commitment on the part of parents to raise their children with the knowledge, skills and motivation to maintain control of their financial resources.
To raise money-smart kids, try the following:
- Give them an allowance. Children do not learn by osmosis when it comes to money. They need hands-on practice.
- Explain the difference between wants and needs. Let kids know your first responsibility is to provide for the family’s needs.
- Involve children when planning the family budget. As they get older, children can set up their own budget and cover certain expenses such as lunches, recreation and clothes.
- Involve all members of the family as you comparison shop. This is especially important when making a major purchase, like a television or refrigerator.
- Encourage the habit of saving. It may be one of the most valuable lessons they learn.
- Let children make mistakes with their money. Although it’s tough to see children waste money, it may not be wasted if they learn a lesson from having made a poor decision.
- Talk to kids about how you make and spend money. You work hard for your money, so explain that to them.
- Explain that cash from the ATM machine is not magic money. The same goes for checks and credit cards.
- Set a good example. Children take their money cues from their parents. If you earn, spend and save wisely, your children are more likely to be "money smart" also.
- Children grow in their ability to manage money. Don’t expect more than their age and stage of development permit.
- Never use money as a reward or punishment.
Parents who teach their children to manage money wisely give a priceless gift. Remember three hints to help your child: patience, practice, and praise.
Consumer & Family Economics Specialist/
Warren County CPD