Teaching your kids strong values is one of the most important responsibilities that comes with parenthood. And when it comes to learning about financial wellness, starting these lessons early can make a big difference. Having conversations about money may seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually more intuitive than you may think—and, as an added bonus, it can be a fun way to connect with your kids!
Use these six key topics to help guide your conversations:
Differentiating between needs and wants
A lesson on the difference between needs and wants may be a good way to introduce financial wellness to your kids and prepare them for more complex topics, such as budgeting and goal setting.
The importance of earning money
As kids begin to expand their list of wants, it’s time to discuss the importance of earning money. Encourage older kids to look for an official first job and help younger kids get creative with entrepreneurial ventures. This can be a great way for kids to learn the value of a hard-earned dollar.
The basics of budgeting
Budgeting is a lifelong skill that can be useful at any age, so the sooner kids start understanding how it works, the better. Start with a simplified “money in, money out” equation to help kids understand the basic concepts and encourage them to maintain their starter budgets over time.
Goal setting for your family’s future
Teaching kids about financial goal setting can help them begin to understand the balance between saving and spending. By showing kids that there are a lot of “pulls” on your paycheck, you also can help them understand the importance of budgeting.
Opening a first debit card
If older kids crave more financial independence, talk to them about the possibility of establishing a joint checking account with an associated debit card. Take time to go over basic safety and responsibility guidelines before allowing them this privilege.
The importance of charitable giving
Make sure kids recognize that charitable giving is an important aspect of financial wellness. Establishing this lesson with young kids can help empower them to give back and shape a positive, lifelong relationship with charity.
Lastly, teach your kids about cybersecurity! Following influencers, constantly seeing ads pop up on websites and noticing trends on social media, teens and tweens today are often one click away from an impulse purchase. Now’s the time to start the conversation with your kids about managing their money in a digital world.
You’ll also want to make sure they understand digital payment options so there are no surprises when the bill comes or they check their account balance. Cashless payments and online banking make buying and saving easy and convenient. But just as you babyproofed your home and gave them safety lessons when they were young, you need to set up online safeguards and parental controls to protect your kids and teach them how to avoid the hidden dangers. Familiarize yourself with the threats, then teach your kids how to defend against them.
Talking about money with your kids doesn’t have to be complicated. Start early, do it often and never assume they will learn about finances in school or from someone else. Using these tips, you and your children will both have a better understanding of the family finances today and in the future. Start protecting their financial future today!