When it comes to kids imbibing what they need for their future, they take more from their parents than anywhere else. “Parents are the most impactful teachers in their kids’ lives,” Susan Beacham, author of O.M.G.: The Official Money Guide for College Students, said.
As regards teaching your kids about money, Ms Susan says that “If you’re messed up with money, look in the mirror. It could start as early as the wom!”
There are common errors and misconceptions of parents surrounding money. We have included in this article, actions that you can take as a guardian or parent, to avoid dishing out the wrong messages about money to your children.
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1. Saying something and doing something else
Kids learn a lot in school, but they learn from you even long before they start school. And times you are saying nothing, they are observing. These money mistakes must be avoided.
What you should consider doing is to practice with them what you teach on money. For instance, you can take them to a bank with you while you make a deposit in a savings account towards a project, or through an app. But ensure to lead them on each step you take in the act.
“Take that past-due bill and put it in front of your middle schooler … say, ‘This one got by me and now this column shows how much more this is going to cost me because of that. But I’m going to fix it and pay it today,'” Susan said.
2. Always leaving the payments to your spouse
According to Kimberly Palmer who is the author of Smart Mom, Rich Mom, this is a common error associated with women. She said she often by default leaves her husband to take up all the bills in the home. “It was a leftover habit from dating. I let my husband pay,” she said. “I realized my daughter never saw me paying for things, and she was understanding it around age five. She thought it was daddy’s job.”
In fixing this error, she made sure her kids watched her pay for things in the home. She also added that beyond doing it in their presence, you should also ensure to talk them through it.
“When I pay the water bill, I have my daughter sit next to me,” Palmer continued. “The water bill comes with a visual chart. It’s easy for her to grasp that. It’s an easy way of showing what you’re doing with money and how you’re paying for things.”
3. Using credit cards without explaining it to them
When you are fondly found using cards to pay for everyone, your kids will feel that they can simply get anything they want without creating a budget or making payment with real cash.
And since you are likely to do a lot of transactions with visibly carrying cash about, it is important to explain the process to them without them having to misunderstand it. Let them understand how credit cards work. Let them understand that the money you have previously worked for is what you have access to in your bank account deposit.
If the child is old enough to know about tax, tell them that taxes have been deducted from the money. And show them that each time you make any purchase with your card, some of the funds you worked for have been used. Explain how the purchases on a credit card wind up as line items on your monthly bill which you must pay to avoid interest build up.
4. Not engaging your kids about financial matters
Some parents think it is best to avoid talking with their children about money, but a research carried out by T. Rowe Price shows that what most kids are able to deduce from it is that there is something negative about money that could cause shame, harm, or embarrassment.
To fix this, make it a norm to engage your kids about money. Begin with them from a very young age. At the grocery store you act thinking aloud why the organic apples are more expensive than the non-organic ones. This approach will give your kids visibility into your thoughts.
Susan suggests that parents should be able to include talking directly to their kids about savings, charity, and investing as they grow older. “And let it not be ‘because I said so.’” she added.
5. Engaging in money fights with your spouse in the presence of your kids.
Money is one of the commonest reasons for disputes among couples, and oftentimes, parents take these fights in front of their kids.
Fix this by talking with your spouse about money in the most reasonable way. Talk about a considerable amount to go into furniture or dining out. The major goal of this is that they can keep a solid and loving relationship despite compromising or disagreeing on issues related to money.
And when it appears that you are challenged financially, Marty Allenbaugh, CFP with T. Rowe Price, said. “It’s an excellent time to teach them about what’s occurring so you don’t pass your bad habits to your kids.”
6. Regularly embarking on impulse purchases
“When children reach age five, they can start understanding trade-offs before making a purchase,” Allenbaugh said.
Be deliberate about letting your kids hear your reasons for delaying or not towards making a particular purchase. And you should endeavor to do this as often as possible. Probably every week.
7. Bailing your kids out when money issues are made
If you bail your kids always when they make mistakes with finances, they’ll not understand the consequences that may be accompanied by these mistakes.
Fix this by letting your kids feel buyer’s remorse from their tender age. For instance when they buy things that get spoiled very quickly, give them your sympathy. However, avoid the temptation of replacing the item for them. Let them understand what it means to spend their money on the same thing multiple times.
8. Considering cheaper alternatives isn’t worth it.
Whether you’re meeting a need or want, most parents are likely missing a lesson on the worth of items. Financial expert, Woroch suggests that kids should be guided to make savvier decisions with shopping. She added that kids can be made to know that they can check out for discounts and coupon codes online before making a purchase.
“You can even turn shopping into a game, having them look for cheaper options and then use a cash-back app like Fetch Rewards and have your kids take pictures of your shopping receipts to earn points towards free gift cards to stores like Amazon or Target,” Woroch suggested. “Then let your kids redeem those gift cards to get something they really want.”
In conclusion, if you have been putting forth any of these wrong money messages to your kids, it is never too late to start making corrections.
“What’s more exhausting than the money mistakes along the way is the child [who never learns] and fails epically,” Susan said.