You feed them, educate them, and ensure their safety. But your responsibility doesn’t end here. You must also make your children financially savvy.
As a parent, you have umpteen responsibilities toward your children – you’re expected to keep them safe, educate them, and raise them to become independent adults. But wait. There’s one more thing that’s equally important – instilling healthy money values. Are you inculcating financial responsibility in your kids?
From the increase in the cost of education to dealing with a more complicated financial world, there are numerous reasons why it’s imperative for today’s kids to be money-savvy. Here are some simple lessons you can teach your children that will help them achieve financial success later in life.
1. Monkey see monkey do
The best way to begin would be to lead by example. Children look up to their parents; they emulate their actions and behaviour. Often the tiniest of things will be mirrored by them. So watch how you treat money. When you swipe your card numerous times as a substitute for exchanging notes, your child might think that you’re not spending any real money. Make the effort to teach them what happens behind the scenes, and the concept behind ‘plastic money’.
2. Importance of money talk
A lot of parents avoid discussing money with their children. This is wrong. From an early age, kids need to be taught the value of money. They need to know how much things cost and how to budget, apart from becoming familiar with savings and investments. So when you and your spouse have a discussion on any of these matters, do involve your children. Ask their opinion. Make them feel responsible. Explain the logic behind your financial decisions so they learn to think in the same manner.
3. Teaching the value of money
Resist the temptation to hand out money to your kids whenever they ask. Instead, give them extra money for tasks/chores, apart from a regular allowance. This way they will think of the money as income earned and not as a freebie. They will also learn how that extra bit of income can come in handy someday. Teenagers who are legally permitted to work can be encouraged to take up part-time jobs such as taking tuition, a part-time book keeping job, managing events, etc. if it doesn’t interfere with school or homework.
4. A penny saved is a penny earned
The idea of instant gratification appeals to children far more than saving does. The thought of buying heaps of candies or several toys appeals more than putting money into a piggy bank. This is why the habit of saving should be encouraged early on, so it can stick through into adulthood. It’s the best way to learn the value of money. They can start small – say, by saving a tenth of the income they earn and spending the rest. Initially there may be a revolt. But in a few months they will reap the benefits. Over time you can rejig the amount they save and the amount they spend.
5. Limits are good
As a parent, you would know what it’s like at the end of the month when finances tend to run out. Although your child doesn’t have to face such a situation right away, preparing them for the future will help. So teach them the importance of budgeting, and let them set a limit on their expenditure. Ask them to distribute their income or allowance into different buckets, such as ‘school project’, ‘trip with friends’, ‘candies’, ‘toys’ etc. At the end of each month, encourage them to review their expenditure and suggest solutions to how they can spend more wisely next time.
6. Plan, plan till you succeed
It is important for a mother to inculcate the habit of financial planning in her children from a young age. Planning goes a long way. The way you teach them to save and spend money will come into use when they become adults. Instilling the habit of planning early on will means they will continue the same in the years to come. Once your children are adults, financial planning will help them keep their budget in check, make long-term plans, support themselves, tend to emergencies and achieve their dreams.
As with other responsibilities, financial responsibility and money management should be taught early on. Starting early enables children to transition smoothly into fiscally responsible and financially independent adults.