If there’s one news category that has everyone equally concerned, it’s the economy. There may be a lot of arguing about solutions, but everyone, Democrat and Republican alike, agrees that something needs to change.
Another point of agreement is that we all want our children to be well equipped when it comes to making sound financial decisions. And that’s where you come in, Dad.
It turns out there’s a lot that we can do to prepare our children to be fiscally responsible adults. We can talk about sound financial decisions, we can model sound financial decision-making, and (most importantly) we can help our children practice so they’ll be rooted in great habits by the time they’re on their own.
But whatever your approach, there’s a lot that can be done. Try the following 5 things dads can do to promote their kids’ economic health:
1. Model sound financial sense.
That’s right; it starts at home in more ways than one. Don’t spend money you don’t have, don’t buy stuff the family doesn’t need, and don’t complain about the “unfairness” of running short. Instead, let your kids see their parents being thrifty, talking respectfully about finances, saving ahead for major purchases, and maintaining a good balance between family and work.
2. Be an open book.
Let them see the way you make financial decisions. Keep an age-appropriate running dialogue going. “Let’s go to the game, kids. I have some extra money this week.” Or, “We’re camping for vacation this year because there’s not enough money for the cruise we talked about. But we’re still going to have a great time as a family!”
3. Start the kids on a savings plan early.
That means immediately if not sooner, starting with gifts and allowance. Good habits are strong indicators of future behavior. Saving must be ingrained by the time kids start earning money via work. It’s not optional if we want to teach fiscal responsibility.
4. Establish a relationship between work and buying power.
Make sure certain items are not available except by hard work and long-term savings. Maybe it’s that upgraded bike, the tablet they wanted, or their first car. Kids will place a higher value on money when they have earned it. They will also appreciate the items they purchased more and they’ll internalize the relationship between work and material possessions.
5. Never bail kids out of financial responsibility.
Sometimes it’s tough to enforce natural consequences. But if your kids didn’t earn enough money, or failed to save properly, then the benefit associated with that money should be forfeited.
- 10 Ways Money Can Mess Up Your Family Life
- 10 Ways to Stop Fighting with Your Wife About Money
- Personal Finance for Kids from ABC News
- 7 Life Hacks for Dads
Huddle Up Question
How do you plan to get enough money to have a family when you’re grown up?