Being A Financial Role Model
Being a financial role model to a child is very important for them to understand what money is and what it is used for. Money has three purposes. It is either to spend it, save it or give it away. Children often view their parents as role models and observe the way they use their money. They tend to imitate their parents’ behavior. If a child sees when they are out with their parent that they pay with credit cards then they think that swiping a card gives you things. They need to understand the difference between cash and credit especially the impact that credit can have on their financial future.
Some parents might feel uncomfortable about speaking to their child about money because they don’t want to give them the wrong advice or because they know that they are not making smart financial choices so how can they tell their child too. Well, there are ways to pass along money-management skills that you can teach your children early on that they can absorb and understand. Start out by giving them some childhood experiences that you had growing up. Tell them what you had to do in order to make money to buy the things that you wanted. For example, you had to do chores to get an allowance, or during the summertime, you cut the neighbors’ grass. Maybe you had a lemonade stand. Whatever the story is narrated it in a way where they will understand that they have to work hard sometimes to make a buck so that they can buy the things they want. Also, it is important to teach them about saving for the items that they want to buy. Saving is very important and if taught properly children will have a better foundation about money-management. When I was growing up my father used to say before I buy anything to sleep on it for 24-48 hours. If you still think you need it then go back out and buy it, but if it is a want is it worth spending that money on it? A great example is purchasing a new purse. Although men typically think that women only need one purse to put all of their “junk” in it; women view this purchase as something of a need because we see purses as an accessory and we want our purses to match our outfits. Just spend the money wisely. Don’t go out and purchase a $500 designer purse when you know that you have bills to pay. And, if you are in debt then you should not even be thinking about purchasing something that expensive. Get out of debt first then buy all of the designer purses that you want. Teach your child the important between a want and a need. Here is a really cool way for the child(ren) in your life to learn about saving money and money management. It’s a children’s ATM savings bank account machine. It works just like a real ATM machine and it comes with an ATM debit card and pin number. It even makes sound.
Children study us all the time. They watch our behavior. Sometimes they will repeat what they saw or heard back to us. That is when reality sinks in and you start to realize your own bad habits. Here is a true story about my experience with money and my niece. I went to the salon to get my hair cut and styled and I spent $92. So when I saw my sister later that afternoon to pick up my niece I told her the cost of getting my hair done. Well, my little niece who at the time was 7-years-old overheard what I was telling my sister. So later my niece was with me to spend the weekend and we went to the grocery store to pick up a few things. She is in the backseat of my car as we are pulling up into the parking lot and says, “Aunt Tee-Tee I just prayed for you because you spend $92 on your hair.” I said, “thank you!” Then she starts to move around trying to look out the window. I asked her what she was doing. She responded, “Well, now I am looking for a star so I can wish upon it for you to have more money because you spent $92.” I was cracking up laughing. Hearing her say it back to me that I spend that much money on my hair did sound ridiculous, but in my defense, it was $30 to cut my long hair, $52 to style it and I gave a $10 tip. I won’t be cutting my hair every time I head to the salon. Getting your hair done is never cheap. Plus, I thought I looked great!
Another way to help children understand money is to make it into a game. There are board games out there that can teach children about money, investing and real estate like Monopoly. I have not come across anyone that doesn’t want to play that game. And, who hasn’t played the Game of Life. So pull out the board games and if you don’t have either one of these…seriously what is wrong with you! Have some fun teaching your children money and tell stories along the way. Board games take time to play so take time to teach them money-management and life lessons that you learned. Below are some recommended board games to play with your child(ren).
If board games are not your thing and the stock market is then make that into a weekly game or challenge. Teach your children how to invest in the stock market. Show them how to buy shares or stock in a company and how they can go up and down. Believe me, they will have fun and if you think that it might be boring to them 9 times out of 10 they are probably happy that they got to spend some quality one-on-one time with you.
So, in conclusion, be the financial role model that they need in their lives. Teach them the importance of making money and saving not just spending. Set an example for your children. They, after all, are looking up to you.