Healthy families are built on good relationships, but money is how you ensure their safety. This is where it gets tricky, because every family requires a certain financial income that can be distributed across several dimensions of life. From groceries and clothes to bills and schools, one can hardly start a family without a stable financial situation. This is why money and stress become practically indistinguishable notions for working parents. In order to keep your money situations in check and instill responsible financial behavior into your children, here’s how to create good financial habits in your family.
It begins with you
Finances are a complicated matter. If your child hasn’t reached the college age and decided to study economics or banking, certain concepts will almost certainly fly over their heads until they become self-sufficient individuals. However, if they are completely oblivious to how to handle money, they will go through some tumultuous periods, trials and errors before they learn how to do it properly. This can take years and it will be a difficult time for them. This is where you come in. If you go out of your way to teach your children the importance of saving and managing cash, they will almost certainly find their footing a lot faster as they reach adulthood.
An allowance is a good starting point
For children, the first comprehensive contact with money tends to come in the form of pocket money, or in other words – allowance. This is a good starting point to make your children financially literate but avoid tying this pocket money for performance at school, chores or other activities. Such practice can actually be counterproductive and teach your children that they should get paid whenever they are expected to contribute. In addition, it is crucial to give your child an arranged allowance in equal intervals. If they spend it too early, they will have to learn how to manage the hard way. Don’t let them nag you into giving them money early and never compromise! It’s a recipe for future disaster.
Thinking about the future
It goes without saying that healthy finances are achieved through disciplined behavior and good planning. This means that you need to teach your children how to think about the future in terms of money. You can start this by doing it all together – organize a dining table meeting and start having a conversation about holidays, camps, even college, but is important to always frame it as a discussion about what your children want from their future.
Keep this up as your children enter adulthood and even involve them in some personal matters so they can get an idea of what to expect once they reach a certain age. For example, if you get to do an age pension income test, you can keep your children in the know about the eligibility and allocation of money for your pension if they have reached college age. This concrete example can teach them how discipline and financial health can influence their lives in the long run.
Small things that matter
Of course, there is a bunch of small traditions and habits you can introduce into your home in order to create good financial habits. You can set up a money jar where every family member can drop some extra change every now and then. Even a swear jar is a good venue, especially if you decide to put a particular value on certain words. With both jars placed on visible spots in the household, you can end up with a surprising sum of money at the end of the month.
An additional small habit you can teach your child is to start putting aside 10% of their allowance in a special box. By the end of the year, they will have saved up enough money to treat themselves with something special or, even better, continue saving. Of course, such a habit is not only reserved for children. You can dedicate a special envelope in your work desk to putting aside 5% to 10% of your salary and basically create an extra source of money in the case of unpredictable emergencies. Finally, do not buy anything unless it has absolutely justified utility. Shopping sprees and needless subscriptions offer only a short-term satisfaction and set a bad example for your children.
Money can be a touchy subject in many families. In fact, many parents tend to avoid discussing their financial situation in front of their children which actually tends to put even more pressure on them. However, this is definitely not the smartest way to go about the subject. Just like with everything else, we tend to develop our opinions about a variety of matters when we are young and money is not an exception. Therefore, it is probably more prudent to address this issue with your children, as long as you keep it simple. When it comes to planning certain expenditures that are related to them, their lifestyles and school, you can even involve them in the activity. If you teach your children how to manage and handle money while they are young, you are bound to create a healthier and financially more stable home.