Let’s be honest; not everyone is good with money. Some folks never learned the basics of balancing a checkbook, let alone controlling impulsive buying habits. So, for someone who struggles with finances, the idea of teaching kids about money and stewardship can seem overwhelming.
If that’s you, it’s not too late to still teach your children some solid financial skills. Not only can you prepare them for their future in ways you wish you had learned, but coaching them can give you the leg up you need to become a better money manager yourself.
Here are three tips to help financially challenged parents raise money-smart kids.
Have regular discussions about money
Although money is one of the most referenced topics in the Bible, there’s a lot of mystery surrounding how to use it. One reason may be that we simply don’t talk about it enough.
Children need to learn about the value of delayed gratification and telling themselves no.
As they get older, they need to learn not only the mechanics of managing their finances (budgeting and bank accounts) but also the importance of being vigilant about responsible saving and spending. They can learn just as much from a parent who’s honest about their own money missteps as they can from a hyper-organized CPA—and those lessons might have a better chance of sticking. So, don’t be afraid to talk to your kids about how you have sought out resources to teach you the ropes.
Create a budget together
Understanding how to create and manage a budget is a critical money-management skill. When you take the time to sit down together as a family to prioritize your expenses and income, you create an opportunity for learning and bonding that can empower your kids as they realize where your money goes.
Fortunately, with the digital tools now available, you won’t have to keep track of your spending in a dog-eared notebook. There are banking accounts designed to help you to work together with your kids, creating budgeting categories and helping them monitor their spending trends.
For instance, Start Young Accounts from Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU) come with a free app that gives you and your kids hands-on tools for saving and spending responsibly, while also helping them build and maintain a budget.
Learn as you teach
Maybe you’re strong on self-discipline, but you don’t know a lot about banking, interest rates or student loans. As any teacher can tell you, instructing your kids is a great way to process new information or learn a new skill. Knowing that you’re going to be talking about a specific financial concept can stimulate you to research and remember even more than usual—and you benefit from the knowledge just as much as they will.
So, talk to them about how banking works. Teach them about protecting their financial information. Show them how to use a debit card, make purchases online, and use services like bill pay.
Don’t be afraid of your shortcomings!
Money will play an integral part in your child’s life, so don’t let your insecurities stop you from helping them (and yourself) learn how to become a money master. All the knowledge and skills you gather and pass on will enrich your life, too!
If you’re not sure how to get started, check out Start Young Saving and Spending Accounts. They’re chock full of banking features that will teach your child to save and spend responsibly while offering you the peace of mind of controlling their account access and spending limits.