Teaching Kids About Money

kid moneyHere are 10 some smart things to know when teaching your kids about money.

  1. Start early in life and modify to be age appropriate. Get young children (ages 3-6) involved in the grocery shopping and have them choose which items to buy based on a pre-set amount.  As they get older (ages 7-13), concepts such as comparison shopping, growing your money through saving and investing, and borrowing money become important.

  1. Walk your Talk.  Impulsive buying and racking up credit card debt are behaviors that don’t go unnoticed by your children.  Don’t shy away from explaining to your kids where all that money in a paycheck goes. It’s invaluable for them to learn that just because something looks good, it doesn’t mean you buy it.

  1. Don’t underestimate the allowance.  Once your child starts school, introducing an allowance is a good idea.  Treat their allowance as if it were their own paycheck and set aside 20-30% to savings.   As they get older, you can start to allocate a portion of their allowance to pay for something that they really enjoy. They’ll learn about budgeting, savings and also comparison-shopping to find the best deal.

  1. Give them the power of earning money on their own.  In addition to an allowance, encourage your child to earn money through projects or help them to brainstorm ways to make money. Once they start to earn money through their own hard work and effort, their interest in learning about money management also increases.

  1. Get your kids involved in budgeting.  It’s helpful to include your children in planning for large family expenditures such as vacations and summer camps. How you came up with the budget number is just as important as what it is – especially if it was derived from a monthly savings that you’ve set aside each month.

  1. Encourage them to participate in saving or investing their money.  It’s never too early to open a savings account so they can learn the concept of compound interest. Use allowance and earned money as a way to show how their income can be allocated to different buckets: short term spending (candy at the movie), long term savings (new mountain bike), and investment for their future.

  1. Set financial goals to teach savings and borrowing.   Rather than buying the latest product automatically, show your child how to save for these items. Lend them money at a simple interest rate so they learn the concept of time value of money.

  1. Make it a game.  Every kid, no matter the age, likes the challenge of a game.  Make it a family game night and bring out the Monopoly or Life board games.  There are computer games that teach kids the basics of running a business such as Zoo Tycoon and Sim Coaster.

  1. Start using online financial tools now.  If your child uses a checking or credit card account, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t also track their spending and savings using the latest tools. New services like MoneyStream uses a simple calendar based system to show where money is going and analyzes past spending to predict future inflows and outflows.  If your child is in college you can easily monitor the checking balance and know when to make a transfer (or give them a refresher course on managing their money).

  1. Check out more resources for teaching kids.  There are many resources that provide guidance for teaching kids good money management skills.  Moneyasyougrow.org, Warren Buffet’s SMsCKids.com (Secret Millionaire’s Club) and, Independent Means (www.independentmeans.com) are just a few to check out.

Christy Ross, the Chief Marketing Officer of MoneyStream and a mother of 3 boys, has built a long career in the financial industry. When she’s not balancing the demands of 3 busy boys (ages 6, 10, and 13), she’s helping financial technology start-ups grow. While sometimes missing the mark on walking the talk (don’t we all), she strives to help her kids become good stewards of their money and ultimately their life.

Frugality – Teach Your Children Well

by Claire K. Levison

saleMy dad is a master of frugality.  His brother often remarks that it’s “the family way.”  As a kid, I thought my dad was cheap but as it turns out, he’s just smart.  He knows what’s important to him and what isn’t.  Those priorities are reflected in the way he spends his money.  The car he had when I was in high school was the base model.  It didn’t even have a radio.  When I would ask him why, he would say, “I don’t need a radio in my car.”  When Dad would take me to a fast food restaurant (a fairly rare occasion), he was never willing to buy drinks.  “Those drinks are so over-priced.  We can get a drink at home,” he would tell me.  As a child, I didn’t understand it.  It drove me nuts.  Now as an adult, I can see that where it drove me was down a path of financial success.

As a mother, I’ve vowed to teach my children to be frugal too.  My fourteen-year-old hasn’t fully embraced the concept yet.  She does enjoy seeing her money go further when she buys things that are on sale, but she’s still fairly enamored with high dollar items.  And I’m not always as good as my dad was when it comes to holding firm.  I can’t remember my dad ever giving in to those fast food sodas.  Although I’m sure he must have at some point during my eighteen years of childhood.

And yes, as time goes on in our society, it seems that ante is continually being upped.  Instead of a soda, my daughter wants UGGs. When I bought her first pair, I remember thinking, “I can never tell my dad how much I just paid for these boots.  He will think I have completely lost my mind.”  Although I was buying an expensive pair of shoes for my daughter, frugality was still churning inside me.  When I looked at the price tag of those boots, it set off an alarm in my head.  Even as a grown woman, I was asking myself what my dad would think of that purchase.  It made me feel uncomfortable.  It made me think, “This should be a rare occasion.  This should be a special treat.”

I could tell you that you should never buy your kids a pair of UGGs or some similar name brand item, but I’m not going to. I think as parents we can find a balance between providing a lifestyle that allows our children some flexibility in a world that puts such a high value on material things and providing a lifestyle that shows our children that frugality will ultimately be a roadmap for financial success.

I expect, like it is with so many other lessons we try to teach our children when they’re growing up, that it may not be until my daughter is out on her own that the light bulb will really go off in her head.  I picture her being debt-free, having a solid savings account, and investing for retirement and other future needs she’ll have.  I picture her standing in the midst of her firm financial foundation thinking to herself, “Wow, I guess Mom really did know what she was talking about when it came to all that frugal stuff.  She taught me well.”  I don’t think this is too much to hope for.

But for now, my sweet daughter just rolls her eyes when I drag her to the clearance section at the back of a store.  I don’t go shopping that often but when I do, I always hit the clearance racks first.  Maybe it’s my version of a radio-less car or a soda-less trip to McDonald’s.  Dad taught me well.  Teach your children well too.

Clare K. Levison is a certified public accountant and author of Frugal Isn’t Cheap:  Spend, Less, Save More, and Live Better.  She is a national financial literacy spokesperson for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and has appeared on major radio and television networks across the country discussing various personal finance topics.   She has served as a member of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) Board of Directors and was named one of the 2010 Top Five CPAs Under Thirty-Five by the VSCPA. Levison has more than a decade of corporate accounting experience and is also an active volunteer, serving as PTA president, Girl Scout leader, and Sunday school teacher.  She lives in Blacksburg, Virginia with her husband and two daughters.

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Tips For Children About the Basics of Money

by Patrick Bet-David

kids-moneyIt’s not that kids shouldn’t have fun, but today’s distractions are taking too much time from more important things like learning about money. Whether kids are going to the movies, shopping for clothes or music, buying a car, trying to help support their parents or even working a couple of jobs to pay for college, money is and always will be an important part of our lives.

 

Use these tips for children to learn about the basics of money:

 

Start a habit of saving money – Whether someone gives you five bucks or you just got your first paycheck, whatever money you are making, try to save at least 10% in an account that you try hard not to touch.

 

Start a budget – Open up your own savings account and learn the basics of having a bank account. Start a budget and learn to manage it.

 

Shop around – It’s tempting to see something we like and buy it on the spot, and that’s called instant gratification. But if you go online or wait a couple of months for a sale, that same item may cost less which saves you money.

 

Avoid credit cards at all costs – If you plan on buying an awesome car, buying a house one day, or being taken seriously in any business venture, your credit score will play a huge role in how much financial companies will trust your spending habits.

 

Focus on earning – Saving is very important, but if you’re not earning money you won’t have any to save. Start thinking like an entrepreneur at an early age. Open a lemonade stand, car washing business or pet walking service. The key is to offer a service that people are willing to pay for.

 

Expect more – People usually make the amount of money they feel they are worth, and most people sell themselves short. Teach children to have a high self-image, and they will create a world for themselves that meets that self-image.

 

Download an app on your phone – There are so many apps for managing your budget and savings on phones nowadays that you can track your money on the go. Get in the habit of keeping tabs on your spending habits.  Kids will have more fun doing this on their phones and tablets.

 

Bet-David says there is a difference between just saving money and building an awesome financial foundation, but it’s a good idea to start with the basics.

Planning Your Kids’ Retirement

Should You Start Planning Your Kids’ Retirement?

kids savings/retirementWhen our generation was growing up, we were taught about Social Security, and many of us had grandparents who were reasonably comfortable with a combination of their investment income and their government checks.

Today, not so much.

Over the last few years, we have seen the market crash and burn, and Social Security is on its way toward doing the same. So, if we’re scrambling to salvage our retirement income, imagine what it will be like for your kids. If you haven’t done that already, one expert has some good news for you.

That’s why Rick Rodgers, a retirement counselor and author of the new book The New Three-Legged Stool: A Tax Efficient Approach To Retirement Planning (www.TheNewThreeLeggedStool.com), believes that parents can help their kids safeguard their retirement by starting now.

“When we were just starting out in life, our parents told us to start saving money right out of the gate, but we didn’t listen,” he said. “Instead, we ran up our credit card debt, spent more than we earned and bought more house than we could afford. But our kids can and should learn from our mistakes and helping them to start saving now could give them a nest egg or millions instead of thousands.”

Rodgers advice includes:

  • Start at 16 – Just $5,000 contributed to a Roth IRA each year for 5 years starting at age 16 could be worth more than a million by the time the reach age 65.  In a Roth IRA all that growth would be tax-free when withdrawn.
  • 10 Percent Rule – Everyone should save a minimum of 10 percent of their take home pay.
  • Shelter Early – Ideally, you should save in a Roth IRA account at the beginning of your career.  When you reach your peak earnings (usually around age 40), switch to a tax-deferred account like a 401(k).
  • Fun or Fund? – Take half of what you have been spending on gifts (toys, games, etc.) and invest it in a mutual fund for your child.
  • Birthday Booster – Encourage friends and relatives to contribute to the mutual fund account you’ve started instead of buying gifts for birthdays and holidays.
  • Every Little Bit Helps – Contributing small amounts on a regular basis is a better strategy than waiting to accumulate a larger sum.  Get in the habit of saving something regularly.
  • Use the Refund – Let the government help.  Currently the child tax credit is $1,000 per child until they reach age 17.  Discipline yourself to save the credit when it is returned to you as a refund.

“It doesn’t take a lot to give your kids long term security,” Rodgers said. “The magic of compounded interest can do more of the heavy lifting as long as you start early and contribute often.”

About Rick Rodgers

Rick Rodgers, Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Retirement Planner Counselor, Certified Retirement Counselor, and member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisers, is Founder and CEO of Rodgers & Associates.

Rick’s expertise in the investment and financial advisory profession began with one of the big Wall Street firms in 1984. Twelve years later, he founded Rodgers & Associates as a way to concentrate on financial planning. His vision was to help families prepare for a worry-free retirement through the creation and conservation of their wealth. Today, as a leading retirement expert and personal wealth adviser to high net worth individuals, Rick provides integrated financial, tax, and investment strategies, retirement planning, executive compensation, estate and charitable planning.