As an LPL Financial Advisor and mother to a four-year-old, I often think about how I can raise my daughter to be financially savvy. It’s important to me that she has a good understanding of finances, so even though my daughter is quite young, I talk with her regularly about saving money, spending wisely and earning income.
If you would also like to raise a financially fit family, here are my tips:
- It’s never too early (or too late) to talk to your children about money. Studies show that we form opinions about money at early ages so when you’re grocery shopping, discuss why you are buying one brand over another, or while you’re driving, explain how long it took you to save up to buy your dream car. A great resource I’ve found for parents is Beth Kobliner’s book, Make Your Kid A Money Genius (Even If You’re Not).
- Realize that nearly every conversation about money is also about values. Do you think it’s important to save for the future, or is it more important to seize the moment? Do you spend more money on entertainment or saving up for college education? Help your children understand how you prioritize where your money goes.
- Read together. I found a great list of books from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last year and have read most of them with my daughter. Here are a few of our favorites:
- A Chair for My Mother by Verna Williams
- Just Shopping with Mom by Mercer Mayer
- Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins
- The Berenstain Bears & Mama’s New Job by Stan and Jan Berenstain
- Tia Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina
- Provide your older children with specific guidance. Help them open a Savings Account. Make them take ownership in some of their own spending decisions (i.e. set a budget for school clothes and help them figure out how to allocate it). Encourage them to work for their money, even if it’s just some periodic babysitting or lawn-mowing. Many successful adults started by selling lemonade or delivering newspapers.
- Be empowered and informed about your own family finances. If you aren’t the one who handles the money in your household, that may be okay, but you can’t be oblivious. Go to the meetings with your tax preparer or investment advisor, read through the choices during open enrollment for your (or your spouse’s) employer benefits annually, know where your money is and whether the balance went up or down since last year. You never know when you may be called upon to be your family’s Chief Financial Officer.
Teaching your children about money may sound daunting but it can actually be fun. My favorite lesson thus far was teaching my daughter about taxes at age two. When she would ask me to open any sort of wrapper for her, I would tell her she has to “pay the tax” which means mom gets a bite of whatever the treat was before she did. In doing this, I hope she won’t be blindsided the day she gets her first paycheck and learns about the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax.
Lessons about money may take a lifetime to learn, so my strategy, and my suggestion to you, is to start now. Delta Community offers several accounts for children, such as our Youth Savings Accounts, Checking Accounts and, when they are a ready, a Visa Credit Card.
Written by Delta Community Retirement & Investment Services LPL Financial Advisor, Jeana Salman, CFP®.
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