Many children find themselves hopelessly in debt after leaving home. They go off to college, wanting to take on the world. The independence they suddenly experience leads to decisions that are not always best for them. Many of them have not had to deal with financial responsibilities. They are lured into credit card and loan offers, finding themselves drowning in debt in a very short time.
Twyla Prindle says, “Studies are now showing that for the very first time since the great depression, we now have a negative saving rate. Many of us are living check to check, and just getting by. All of us want the best for our children, and getting by is not the best. If we teach our children basic principals now, they will become common sense to them later.”
Twyla experienced financial ruin after graduating from high school. She was rebellious and went off to college to live her own life. She had at least 15 credit cards. Unable to keep up all the payments, the bills piled up, and creditor’s phone calls were constant. Thinking all of her financial woes would just go away, Twyla chose to ignore them. After graduating college, she was offered a job in her field of study. The employer did a credit check and rescinded on the job offer. Bad credit had caught up to Twyla at an early age. It took years to pull herself out of the hole she had gotten herself into.
She learned from her mistakes and now used her real life experienced to teach children the meaning of money. Through her financial literacy tips, she hopes others will not fall into the same financial traps she did.
Begin teaching children financial literacy at an early age. Three and four year olds can learn to understand the concept of money. The earlier a child learns how to deal with money matters, the better. There are many resources available to help parents begin:
- Games are one of the best ways to get a child interested. Play the games together and make it fun for your child.
-The internet has a wealth of knowledge for parents to utilize. There are online games, puzzles and children’s websites that teach money skills.
- Books are another resource for parents. Check the children’s section of the library or book store for basic children’s money counting workbooks.
- A family finance night is a terrific way to spend time together. Talk about the bills you have to pay to keep the family financially secure. Discuss the importance of paying bills on time and not overextending yourself. Children will learn by your example.
Charitable giving is one of the most important financial lessons you can teach your children. Make them aware that there are many people less fortunate than they are and it is our responsibility to help. Giving to the needy is an important part of life.
Children watch what their parents do. If parents are charitable givers, then the children will follow in their footsteps. Be a role model for your children. Find a needy family in your town and make charity boxes as a family and deliver them together.
Charity does not have to be only about money. Teach your children that volunteering is just as valuable as money. Children can use their time and talent to give back to the community. Discuss with your children the volunteer opportunities in your area. Help them decide the one that would be best for them.
Discuss the importance of setting a financial goal. Help your children create short and long term financial goals. Collect different magazines and have your children make goal posters. The posters are a visual aid reminding your children what type of financial goal they want to accomplish.
Talk to them about a basic financial plan, whether they want to set up a savings account, save for an item they want, and assign chores for them to learn the value of money.