You taught them how to read and how to ride a bike, but have you taught your children how to manage money?
One study of households with student loan debt showed that the average amount owed was $47,671. And more than 20 percent of recipients with outstanding loans will either default or be delinquent in repaying those loans.
For current college kids, it may be too late to avoid learning about debt the hard way. But if you still have children at home, save them (and yourself) some heartache by teaching them the basics of smart money management.
Have the conversation. Many everyday transactions can lead to discussions about money. At the grocery store, talk with your kids about comparing prices and staying within a budget. At the bank, teach them that the automated teller machine doesn’t just give you money for the asking. Show your kids a credit card statement to help them understand how “swiping the card” actually takes money out of your pocket.
Let them live it. An allowance program, where payments are tied to chores or household responsibilities, can help teach children the relationship between work and money. Your program might even include incentives or bonuses for exceptional work. Aside from allowances, you could create a budget for clothing or other items you provide. Let your kids decide how and when to spend the allotted money. This may help them learn to balance their wants and needs at a young age, when the stakes are not too high.
Teach kids about saving, investing, and even retirement planning. To encourage teenagers to save, you might offer a match program, say 25 cents for every dollar they put in a savings account. Once they have saved $1,000, consider helping them open a custodial investment account, then teach them how to research performance and ratings online. You might even think about opening an individual retirement account (IRA). Some parents offer to fund an IRA for their children as long as their children are earning a paycheck.
As you teach your children about money, don’t get discouraged if they don’t take your advice. Mistakes made at this stage in life can leave a lasting impression. Also, resist the temptation to bail them out. We all learn better when we reap the natural consequences of our actions. Your children probably won’t be stellar money managers at first, but what they learn now could pay them back later in life – when it really matters.
Kim Brumbaugh is the founder and CEO of Brumbaugh Wealth Management, an Exton-based firm that helps secure people’s financial futures by understanding their unique position and providing personalized solutions for their needs. She started her firm in 2004 with a clear vision to coach clients through complex financial situations and act as a catalyst to get things done.
Kim Brumbaugh is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Brumbaugh Wealth Management is not an affiliate with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. CRN- 3599507-051921
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