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How to Educate Your Financially-Illiterate Children

Many young families today are unfortunately heavily burdened by debt, and the last thing you want is for your child to face financial challenges early in life when he or she is just starting out. Financial education is not taught in most schools, and this means that the only solution currently available is for parents to take action. By walking through these steps, you can get your children started on a great financial path.

Start Young

Children need to learn about the concept of money at a very young age. For example, they need to learn how to save for things that they want. Avoid giving into whims that teach them about instant gratification. According to Dave Ramsey and Rachael Cruze, the three most important principles to convey to children are: (1) God owns everything and you’re only a manager on His behalf, (2) money comes from work, not from Dad’s back pocket, and (3) be contented. Set up a chores list, and give them a small allowance in return for their work. Take your kids to the bank, and open a savings account. Save their holiday and birthday cash gifts in this account, and show them how their balance grows over time.

Monitor Teen Accounts

When your child gets a regular job in his or her teen years, teach your child about budgeting. Require that your teen pay for at least some bills out of his or her earnings, such as car insurance and gas for the car. This will teach budgeting at a young age. Ensure that your child does not get into the red in an account, and talk about overdraft protection through savings accounts.

Require Savings and Investments

Each time your child gets money, require that some of that money be saved and invested. You can open a stock account for children through some brokerage firms. Kids who mow lawns or sell lemonade as well as teens who work over the same can learn about the benefits of saving and investing through their actions. They can also get accustomed to this behavior at an early age.

Talk About Debt

Debt is a sore subject for many adults, but you can use your own personal experiences to educate your kids. Teach your children how to avoid debt through proper planning and saving efforts. According to WantaFreshStart, bankruptcy can be easily avoided by reducing debt and maintaining adequate savings to cover emergencies. Show your child through your own lifestyle as well as through lessons how they can live well below their means to avoid debt. Less is more, and it is not necessary to buy “things” to find happiness and fulfillment.

As you can see, financial education is an ongoing process that may begin when your child is in kindergarten or even before, and it may extend through his or her college years. Regardless of the steps you have taken up to this point, now is a great time to get caught up.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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