Do you remember cradling your baby in your arms, it seems like it was just yesterday, right?! Well, the day will quickly roll around where you're kissing them off to college and making a speech at their wedding.
We all want what's best for our children, and what's the one thing that can hinder a person later on in life? You guessed it, money. As parents we get so caught up in teaching our kids about manners, education, etc that we tend to gloss over the importance of money, what it means, and how it can greatly impact our lives later down the road. Not to say manners and education aren't important but these are just pieces to a very big puzzle called Life.
"It's too soon to talk about money", you say. Wrong. It's never too soon to start prepping for college funds, practicing healthy financial habits, and schooling our kiddos on how to earn and manage money. Trust me, you will thank your self later. Choosing to take this on early in your child's life will not only help with ensuring financial stability on your end but will relieve stress for both of you later on down the road.
Looking back, my mom was RIGHT! (Shhh, don't tell her I said that). One thing my mother always stressed was learning to save money and protecting your credit. Boy was she right!
Here are some tips on how to prep yourself financially for the future, as well as how to wrap your child's young mind around cash/credit/and savings:
Saving $50 per month from the day a child’s born could give you $20,000 by the time he or she turns 17. It is never too early, or too late, to start saving for your kiddos college.
This can be a huge lifesaver for you when it comes time to pay tuition.
Never Too Early To Work
Start by offering to pay your child for certain jobs done around the house or their community. This will help them build pride and a strong work ethic.
Encourage them to work in high school and put 50% of their paycheck earnings into a savings account for their college fund that they are unable to touch until they're 18. They may not like it (or you too) after doing so, BUT guaranteed they will love you once their first school loan bill comes in.
Credit can be a difficult thing to try and teach a young child but it isn't impossible. You're probably thinking, "really credit? I hardly understand it myself!" And trust me, I get why you're a little thrown but it's important to start teaching them about owing, making payments, and the repercussions if they forget to pay what they owe.
Start by playing this simple game: Give your child a used/old card of yours and have that be their credit card. Explain their limit (whatever that may be, $5 bucks?). Tell them that money is now on the card but that they will need to pay this back the next time they do a special job. Let them know that they will not be able use the card until it is paid off. If they do not pay back, they will be forced to pay a fee of $1.
It may be difficult moms and dads but stick to your guns. Even if they cry, beg, sob, etc. This doesn't need to be an every day thing but try it the next time they want something like a toy or ice cream.
May the force be with you.