Every parent knows that we need to talk to our children about ‘sex’ and ‘drinking’. Opening up the lines of communication will help many make better decisions. One area that is still not talked about enough is ‘money’. Consequently, young adults are experiencing major debt and credit problems that will plague them through their late 20’s and if not their entire life.
You wouldn’t give your sixteen year old the keys to your car without drivers training; so don’t let them move out without a practical financial education? Both scenarios could devastate your child’s financial situation for years.
Everyday we send young adults out in the ‘real world’ with dangerously little preparation for the financial realities of life. Tiny errors can mess up your childs financial future for a lifetime. Just one simple missed credit card payment will blemish their credit report for seven years. These mistakes lower their confidence; which can result in a downward spiral of financial blunders.
Most parents are already aware that public high schools do not provide young adults with a practical financial education. And these guardians or parents already know how important financial literacy is for their kids stress levels, health and overall lifestyle. So parents it’s up to you to provide your children with the financial skills they need to make it in today’s society.
There are important financial lessons you can teach your children. But before you do, it’s important you recognize your teaching beliefs and style. There are three common parenting styles that affect the way your children lean about money.
– Parents that don’t feel qualified. This is the most common parenting problem when it comes to providing children a practical financial education. These parents often feel stressed out because they realize how important receiving financial education is; however they just don’t know where to start. They may not feel confident instructing their children because they don’t fully understand financial matters themselves. When their children start making the same financial mistakes that they made themselves, they often feel guilty.
If you relate to this situation, eliminate those negative feelings because it’s not your fault. If you are like most people you were never taught this information either. So use this opportunity to learn about money and grow with your children.
– Parents that are uncomfortable teaching. Many parents out there have a general understanding of money matters however they don’t know how to go about teaching this information to their children. They’re not sure what they should teach, how to teach them and question if their children will actually listen to their advice. They also realize, during the teen years, their children may respond better to other people passing on practical financial lessons to them. As a parent, you don’t teach them biology or geometry so why put pressure on yourself to teach them a subject as important as money?
– Parents that enroll their child in the school of hard knocks. Many of us have learned about money the hard way. Often errors are made then we have to work that much harder to fix it. Parents that are believers in this learning style are taking a big gamble with their children’s lives that can have serious long term consequences.
The lessons you learn in the school of hard knocks often do last a lifetime. However often times these mistakes can undermine the confidence and eliminate all hope of your child ever achieving financial freedom. There are resources available that will give your child a financial head start; so use them!
Every young adult needs a professional course on financial education so they are able to avoid the financial pitfalls that plaque so many people. Here are three tips that will help you prepare your child for a structured financial education course.
1) Lifestyle. Children, teenagers and young adults don’t really care about money. It’s what money brings them that motivates them learn. Relating money to time, freedom and lifestyle will inspire them to learn about money. Once they understand the personal freedom having money will afford them, you’ll find your children excited and wanting to receive a practical financial education.
Relating money to lifestyle is a great opportunity to get to know your children better plus it’s the first step toward helping them develop a healthy relationship with money. Take some time out and talk to them about their dreams. No matter how far fetched their financial dreams may seem to you; make sure to acknowledge them and use that to motivate them to learn all they can about financial matters. For instance, if your 16 year old dreams one day owning a restaurant make sure you encourage that goal. Now, instead of teaching them to save money for no particular reason, you can use their goal as the reason to learn about money matters.
2) Accounts Open their checking, savings, and investment accounts early. It doesn’t matter if they are in kindergarten or colleges by getting these account set up early they will have and advantage that will last a lifetime.
The longer relationship you have established with a bank or financial institution the more benefits your child may receive. Most banks offer clients that have been with them a longer period benefits that new customers won’t receive. They offer their preferred clients benefits such as: better rates, better terms, additional services and they often are able to qualify for loans easier.
In addition to the financial benefits, young adults also feel an added sense of responsibility for their financial future when they have the proper accounts open. This sense of responsibility is a vital part of giving your child adequate preparation before they move out to live on their own.
3) Invest early. Encourage your young adult to begin investing once they have money saved up. The stock market is a great place for them to start; however do not go out and buy individual stocks or mutual funds. Both are too risky unless you have specialized investment training. Instead you may opt to invest in the overall market.