Schools teach reading, writing, science, math, history and even art. So it’s somewhat surprising that many schools don’t offer courses to teach one of the most useful life skills we encounter every day. Managing money.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many courses to teach parents how to do that either, and many need it.
A survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found 78 percent of adults could benefit from professional advice about everyday financial matters. And 40 percent graded themselves C or lower on their understanding of personal finance.
Even children 2 or 3 years old can start to learn about money. A good place to start is teaching them the value of coins, according to parents.com, which offers a year-by-year guide on the subject.
“Young kids love to play store, but an imaginary shop in the living room is more than just a fun way for your child to exercise his imagination. By exchanging play money for goods, your child begins to understand the basics of commerce,” advises the site.
Let them have their money
Children will learn more and faster if they have their money to spend and save. Financial expert Dave Ramsey advises against an allowance. Rather than just handing over money, he suggests assigning some simple tasks and paying children a commission for work they complete. Instead of using a traditional piggy bank, another author recommended a clear container that allows children to see the cash and coins accumulate.
Talk about money
Parents should discuss money with their children each day, advises themint.org. Rather than lectures, the group recommends casual commentaries on daily situations that naturally arise. The objectives are to teach children how to think about money and how to make responsible decisions about using it.
Teach financial patience
When your child wants a big-ticket item like a bike or a video game system, teach him or her how to save money to purchase the item, recommends Andrea Travillian in an article about delayed gratification. It is an important concept that children need to learn, she explains, because researchers have found that learning delayed gratification as children will set them up for future success. She suggests using a calendar and marking off days to provide a visual reference.
Wants and needs
Parents must help children differentiate between things they want and things they need. They might want a toy, but if they need new shoes, it is critical to help them understand which is more important. In an article for The Guardian, Kara Gammell explained that parents should avoid telling children they can’t afford something. Instead, they should explain that they choose to spend their money differently.
Keep it up
As they mature, children can be introduced to more complex financial topics like credit, debt and investing. And don’t forget math. Monetary concepts are easier to master when children have a strong foundation in math. Practical lessons are also good. Help them set up their accounts at a local credit union.
If parents actively teach their children about money and about financial principles by the time they are ready for college, they will be able to make good financial decisions and avoid common mistakes like taking on too much debt.
About Canyon State Credit Union: Canyon State Credit Union has served the people of Arizona for more than 60 years, and is open for membership from anyone who lives, works, or worships in a number of zip codes within Arizona, as well as anyone who works for the credit union’s designated Select Employee Groups (SEGs). Their tagline at Canyon State is Committed To YOU™. It’s not just a saying they take lightly, it’s a promise they make to provide members with the best products and services possible.