Teaching Your Kids To Be Money-Savvy In Adulthood
From the outsider’s perspective, adulthood looks amazing. You get to do what you want when you want and how you want. You can stay up late working your way through a ton of DVDs you bought and eat three different takeaways a day if you really fancied. Of course, this is both unhealthy and irresponsible because, let’s be honest, it’s a surefire way to becoming broke. But that’s the point we’re trying to make. Adult life is less an enchanted forest where roses grow and unicorns graze and more a mountain range full of traps and pitfalls and, of all the hardships we adults have come to accept as part of life, the hardest to understand is the world of personal finance.
But given schools don’t teach our kids about money management or anything like this, it is up to us parents to make sure our offspring develop the right understandings, strategies, management skills and attitudes.
The problem is, well, this isn’t easy and, chances are, your own financial history has some black marks on it. Don’t worry, that’s because life is one giant game of trial and error. So, to help you out a little, we’ve pulled together some top tips and pieces of wisdom to pass onto your kids before they hit adulthood. They’re the kind of fundamentals that everyone should be aware of.
- The Sooner The Better
There is this little thing out there called compound interest, which is basically a process whereby the interest on your savings manages to earn you even more interest, which is awesome. As such, the sooner you start saving for retirement the better because the more time your money will have to grow, taking full advantage of this whole compound interest thing. You keeping up? Basically, what we’re saying is, time is on your side and waiting just three or four years before you start saving can drastically reduce the size of your retirement egg, ergo start now.
- Goals Are Greatly Undervalued
One of the most motivating factors when it comes to saving is having a reason to save, which is why you should convince your children to set goals and have something to work toward. It could be a car-slash-truck they have a poster of on their wall, it could be the down-payment on their first house or just the chance to retire a whole lot earlier than the world wants them too. Whatever it may be, having that goal is so crucial. Of course, it isn’t just about motivation, it is also about knowing how much you’ll need, which will help you come up with a plan of how to get there.
- Never Spend More Than You Make
It is impossible to go bankrupt or get into financial trouble if you spend less than you make. That’s a fact. One that even Donald Trump can’t deny. What’s more, we all know this is a fact. The problem is, we live in a highly consumerist world where we are constantly egged-on to spend beyond our means. To help your kids avoid this mousetrap, try and get them into the habit of saving at least 15% of their income every month. Now, you may think this is a bit frugal, but who cares; there are some massive benefits to being frugal. Of course, if all this proves totally impossible because they love buying Nike SB Stefan Janoski’s too much, then have them get into the habit of withdrawing a fixed amount of cash each week and buying their bits and bobs (read: essentials) with cold-hard money instead. That should help them regulate their spending a lot easier.
- Always Seek Professional Help
As we have already dropped a massive hint about, the financial world is tricky to wrap your head around. It’s sort of like law in that sense. That’s something you need to educate your kids on and get them into the habit of accessing advice should there ever be a major decision where money is on the line. If it is coming up with a financial plan, then seek out a financial planner through The Institute of Financial Planning. If there are ever in an accident, then use someone like Crossen Kooi Law to make sure they get the maximum compensation possible. If they start a business and need to hire employees, then use the help of a recruitment agency and a lawyer so that they are protected and efficient. So many families are in debt because money is a tricky subject to navigate, which is why help should be called upon.
- Press The Autopilot Button
If your kid has to physically remember to put such-and-such into their savings account at each month, then they are much more likely to fail on the whole savings front. They will forget or they will be reluctant or they will make excuses like, “Oh, I’ll put double in next month.” However, if they automate this system and have it so that X amount automatically leaves their account on such a date, or is automatically deducted from their paycheck, then they won’t miss it because they won’t see it has gone. It’s a foolproof plan and one that quickly becomes habit.
- Free Money Is The Best
If your child starts working at a place where their employer matches a percentage of their 401K contribution (which is most places of work nowadays), then you need to get your child to maximise that benefit by contributing all the can to the max limit. There is no set-in-stone answer here, but most employers will contribute between 4 and 6% of their annual salary, which could add up to a tidy amount over the course of a year. Essentially, it is free money, and who doesn’t love free money? That was rhetorical.
- Budgets Are Beautiful
Everything becomes better with a budget. Getting out of debt, staying on track with your savings, making sure you don’t spend too much, everything. Like we said, it is so easy to overspend these days, but if your kid has a budget in place and knows what their daily spending allowance is then they’ll be much more in tune with what their financial situation is.