How do I teach my child about finances?
It’s never too early to teach your child about finances and the importance of saving money. It’s a skill that will bring long-lasting benefits. Learn more from CareNectar expert Mirella Alexis.
Growing up I was never taught about financial responsibility. Now that I’m having my first child, I want them to know more than I did growing up. What is the best way to do this?
Kudos to you for wanting to give your child the tools to make them financially literate and responsible. It’s never too early to set them on the right path toward financial awareness. Financial literacy can only lead to stability and more opportunities for your child as they grow.
Around age 2, your child begins to learn to count, to identify colors, and to say the ABCs. This is also the time when they become interested in role play and pretend play. This is a good time to introduce them to counting coins and bills. They may not know the value of money at this time, but they will learn the quantity. You can role play going to the store, restaurant, or bank and use a toy piggy bank or cash register. It’ll be both fun and informative! Then when you’re out and about doing your daily activities, talk through what you are doing with your child. It can be paying for groceries, buying a treat at your local coffee shop, or using the ATM at your neighborhood bank. Use these everyday interactions as teaching moments.
When your child is school-aged, take them to open a savings account. Then as they receive birthday or holiday money, deposit it and let them watch it grow. Occasionally, allow them to withdraw a small portion to purchase something. This will let your child understand the value of money, rather than thinking it just grows on trees.
As your child gets a little older, you may want to incorporate responsibilities such as chores and allowance as you see fit. Therefore, when they want something, they can buy it with their own money. Make sure to have a conversation about wants versus needs so they make wise and empowered financial decisions on their own. You can also create a budget with them to allocate how much they want to spend, save, and give as a charitable donation each month.
As your child becomes a pre-teen and teen, encourage them to get their first job and start saving for a high-priced item, such as a tablet, phone, or car. When teenagers see how much is withheld from their first paycheck, they are often surprised, and this is a great segue into learning about taxes. This can also be the appropriate time to incorporate them getting their first credit card, learning about building credit and having healthy credit, eventually discussing watching their credit score, college savings, and student loans. In turn, this is a great opportunity to discuss long-term planning, goal-setting, and investing.
Overall, lead by example. Show your child that building financial habits are long-lasting and a positive learning experience. Of course, leave room for error and growth. Don’t stress out over finances because your child will as well, leaving them with a negative impact and relationship with money. Remember, financial wellbeing isn’t the most important thing in life, rather only one aspect of it. And no matter what, better financial habits can always be formed.
Meet The Expert
Mirella has been a family and childcare advocate for nearly two decades. With her bachelor’s degree in early childcare education, Mirella immediately started expanding her portfolio as a professional nanny, early childhood educator, and newborn care specialist. She later obtained her certification in child nutrition, positive discipline, and child abuse prevention. She expanded her professional reach more in 2016 by taking on the role of labor and postpartum doula. In 2020, Mirella became the Vice President of The Nanny Sitter Fund. She’s excited to be bringing her passion for childcare to the masses, making child welfare everyone’s responsibility. Learn more about her at MirellaAlexis.com