Wealth lessons for children
Before we know it, summer will be wrapping up and school will be back in session. While children across the nation will be getting into the rhythm of math, science and English class, there is one subject that is often overlooked – personal finance.
Not many schools offer “Finance 101,” but it opens up an opportunity for parents to teach children all they can about how money works, basic budgeting, and future financial success tactics. Below are a few important wealth conversations to have with children.
The three-bucket lesson. When younger children are given money – say a weekly allowance for completing chores, or gift money – they should allocate funds into different “buckets,” one for saving, one for spending, and one for charity. This allows them to understand that incoming funds should always be delegated to specific longer-term goals, while imparting the significance of being philanthropic. These early lessons will help them to budget successfully, and learn the importance of every dollar, especially as they get older and have a part-time job, go off to college, and eventually, as their career takes off.
Crunch the numbers. Another lesson to pass to young children is how to effectively save and spend hard-earned cash. A good example might be to have them identify something they want to purchase – perhaps a toy or video game. Explain to them how long it might take to save the funds to go toward that purchase.Then, allow them to decideif they still want to purchase this item. This lesson allows young children to understand that money doesn’t grow on trees – it takes time to save up for something you want, and helps to develop a sense of wants versus needs.As children grow older, this can prevent impulse spending, so they can be fiscally responsible adults.
Stock market 101. This lesson is better to impart on older children – say middle school age and up – but having the conversation about the basics of investing can help to pay dividends later on.Make the process fun – have your child pick a company that they personally like. For example, maybe it’s Nike because they wear a lot of the brand’s athletic gear. Then, they can follow this company in the market and better understand how investing in a stock works. For older children, you can even have them invest a bit of money in that specific stock to foster a vested interest in the company’s trajectory.
The earlier you begin these conversations with children, the better. By having open dialogue with kids as they grow, they can better understand and implement best practices when they reach adulthood.