Here are some ways to use your children’s summer vacation from school to set them up for future financial success:
1. Start early
It’s important to begin the financial discussions early in your child’s life. You should begin discussing money with your children by the age of 5 or 6. Money is a complex concept, so starting young will allow your child to develop a deep understand as they grow older. When your child is young, focus on teaching the basics such as the fact that things cost money and how that money is made and handled. It’s not a bad idea to open a simple savings account in your child’s name that they can begin learning to use and get real life financial experience.
2. Encourage your child to make their own money
With summertime here, it’s the perfect opportunity for teens to make money. During the school year, children have very limited hours to dedicate towards working, but the summer break gives them the time and freedom to earn their own money. Begin discussing possible summer jobs with your child months in advance to allow them time to search for a job that excites them and go through the hiring process. And if they aren’t finding a job that inspires them – create one! The teen years can be a great time to experiment with entrepreneurship, from lemonade stands to landscaping services and more.
3. Give up control
As a parent, it’s difficult to give up control as you always want to protect your child; but it’s important to let your kids do things themselves. Let them make bank deposits and withdrawals in their own account (with your help, of course). Let them make their own purchases with the money they have - whether it’s birthday money, babysitting money, or money they’ve earned through chores or a part-time job. As a parent, offer advice, but ultimately let them decide what they want to spend their money on. This is a safe way to learning through guided experience.
4. Let them make mistakes
Letting your kid make mistakes is a crucial part of teaching them. Even if you think (or know) your child is spending their money on the wrong things, let them do it. They will learn from their mistake, and then you can have a discussion about it. This is another way children will learn through experience.
5. Set limits and provide structure
While you’re giving up some control and letting your children make their own mistakes, you still want to set limits. This will ensure that their mistakes are limited to small scale lessons. Last but not least, provide structure with your financial lessons. Structure will help your child establish a strong and consistent saving and spending plan.
There is no time like the present to lay the groundwork for financial success. We’d love to hear what other tips you’ve used with your children that helped them get on their way to being financially responsible!