Children of Debt: Using Your Financial Struggles as Tools for Teaching

All households can experience tough times, and some more than others. Having less to spend is not all bed new, though, and It’s actually quite common that children of low-income families grow up to be more financially savvy than their peers. If your family is going through a dip in finances at the moment, you can easily take advantage of this to teach them a few valuable lessons – just avoid the pitfalls.

Here is how some families use financial struggles to safeguard their children from similar problems, as well as a few words of warning on what to steer clear of.

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Have constructive money conversations

Talking about money problems with children is on the top of the to-do list. When times are tough, and you keep it to yourself, it tends to cause a bit of confusion. Be open about it and you’re giving your children a chance to understand the situation.

Explain that you need to save money, as a household, and that they can be of big help by simply remembering to use less electricity. These conversations are healthy and constructive; the problems are presented together with a solution, rather than mindless worries.

Some parents take the money-talk too far and burden their children with it. The conversations about money are used to unload themselves of worries, and the parents may even feel a sense of relief afterwards – while the child is left with a sense of being unable to help.

Admit your mistakes

While we should all learn from our own mistakes, your children are in the unique position of being able to learn from your mistakes as well. Take responsibility for the situation you’re in, admit that you haven’t been as on top of your finances as you should have, and avoid blaming it on your circumstances.

However tempting it may be to point out that you’ve gone through a costly divorce or that the economy is tough, save these blame-shifting talks for your friends. When you’re talking to your children about it, it’s all about being the grown-up, and grown-ups take responsibility.

If your child or teenager ever find themselves in the same situation, they won’t spend time on pointing fingers but instead get right to work and sort things out; just like you taught them.

There are so many words of wisdom to be found in financial problems, and you can use the situation to teach them about the importance of budgeting, the code of practice 9, and general saving alternatives. By being stubborn and proud, you’re just letting a fantastic teaching opportunity slip away from you.

Growing up in a family that needs to save money rather than spend it can actually be quite healthy for their future finances. It teaches them to understand the value of money and how important it is to have a backup fund in case something should happen, so keep teaching the right kind of values while picking yourself up.

5 Ways to Making Saving Exciting for Kids

Saving money is a valuable life lesson that it is important to teach from a young age. The more good practices are instilled in childhood, the more likely it is that they will be continued throughout life.

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There are a wide variety of different techniques that we will talk a little bit about here, but teaching the relationship between family and money is something that should be ongoing. So, let’s get on and look closer at some money-saving teaching tips.

Make a Savings Chart

If your child wants to save for a particular toy, you can make a chart to figure out exactly how much money they will need to save. Your son or daughter can then place a sticker in the chart each week that they save money so they can actually see themselves getting closer and closer to their overall goal which certainly builds up excitement.

Offer Rewards

You will probably be all too aware how effective rewards can be when encouraging your kids to do something, so think about what motivates them – whether this is an extra half hour playing video games or a trip to the movies – and offer this as a prize if they hit a particular savings goal. This helps to reinforce the positive link between savings and rewards.

Teach Them About Shopping Around

The internet has opened up a whole world of financial opportunity, and one thing that is a good idea to teach your children is about shopping around for a deal. This helps to show them about getting the most for their money and the knowledge that their savings will go further if they always get the best price that they can.

Set a Good Example

Of course, kids learn by example, so if they see you regularly saving your money then they are much more likely to follow suit. If your kids are particularly young, you can show them about saving money by putting your money in a jar. You can then get your kids a jar of their own so they can start to copy you. If they are older, you can set a good example by helping them to open up a savings account at your bank.

Play Games

Board games such as Monopoly and The Game of Life are useful in promoting the value of saving. They also help to demonstrate the consequences of certain decisions and the fact that unexpected costs sometimes spring up in life. While you are playing the games, you can talk to your kids about the similarities and differences that they have with real life financial decisions.

These are just five basic techniques that you can use to help get your kids saving money. Ultimately, it is all about showing them the rewarding aspects of saving money by getting them excited about it. As well as this, you should always be looking to teach them small financial lessons whenever you can that they can apply to real life situations.

Invisible Money – How to teach kids about money in a cashless society

Think for a moment about how many of your day to day transactions are made with actual notes and coins. In a world without cash, what are the implications for teaching children about money?

The Global Issue of Invisible Money

In 2014, the US Parents, Kids and Money Survey suggested 73% of parents agree that because of digital transactions, kids think of money differently than they did when they were growing up. An Australian survey revealed that over one in three (35%) children simply don’t know how digital purchases are paid for. Whilst in the UK consumers recently passed an important milestone on the path to a cashless society, with cash now used for less than half of all payments. These statistics highlight the influence digital technologies can have on how children understand money.

Not seeing physical money exchanged for purchases makes it harder for kids to get their heads around what things cost and how money works. They might not easily see the link between the ‘invisible money’ of online payments or contactless purchases with real money eventually coming in and out of their own bank account.

invisible money how to teach kids about money in a cashless society

Where Money Comes From

It’s not difficult to see how in an age where we can slot a plastic card into a ‘hole in the wall’ and obtain physical currency, or where you can ‘tap and go’ to pay, how our children might not fully understand where the money used to pay for things comes from. One method of explaining this is to describe to your kids the purchase path or the flow of money; from earning it, to depositing into the bank and ultimately the final purchase and receipt.

Making the point of using cash occasionally, rather than electronic funds can also help to provide younger children with a visual representation of how currency works. Once they understand physical money you could slowly introduce them to the idea of online and credit purchases.

 

Pocket Money and Chores

Many parents recognise the value of using pocket money, or an allowance, to teach children about budgeting. Giving your children pocket money in return for jobs around the house can help them understand the connection between time spent doing work and money. A weekly pocket money allowance can also help to develop your kids’ budgeting skills. If you give them a weekly sum which includes both an element for daily routine activities plus some personal discretionary money, it can teach them to prioritise between needs and wants and make choices around spending and saving.

Understanding the True Cost

Mobile phones and tablets make it easier for your children to spend money online sometimes without even knowing it. Another example of invisible money is where many games and apps are now ‘freemium’ – meaning that whilst the app was initially free to download, it will proceed to ask users to purchase special features or content for a fee. If making app purchases is not prevented by a password prompt, then a couple of accidental taps in a game could cause your children to make real-money purchases.

Figures show that 61% of kids are buying apps or making in-app purchases every month, it’s important therefore as parents to establish some ground rules to ensure your child is conscious and aware of the money he or she may spend and its consequences. One useful tip is to ask for the money from your child before they make the purchase to establish the connection that it is still real money.

Setting up a bank account.

Once they are old enough and especially when your child has a job or gets an allowance, having a bank account and watching the balance grow (or shrink) is important. By downloading the bank’s app they can easily monitor and track his or her spending. Another important habit for later in life.

If you can’t beat them join them

The ease and convenience of cashless transactions puts us on an irresistible march towards a cashless society perhaps in your child’s lifetime. Get them prepared early by giving them a prepaid card with a weekly or monthly allowance. These cards can be monitored online and teach the principle that money, whether invisible or not, can only be spent once.

 

Tips on Teaching Children About Money

Children tend to think that money grows on trees. Most children can’t walk through a shop without asking if they can have something. A simple ‘no’ may result in a meltdown if you have an infant in the family. It’s all part and parcel of parenting, but so is teaching your child about money. There will come a day when your children will have to know that you work hard to give them what they have and that the value of money is important. So, how do you teach a child about money?

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Let Them Handle It

As your child gets old enough to do sums, let them handle money. Use the money to work on their mathematics skills at home. You’ll be surprised how a jar full of pennies can occupy a child. You may also want to let them calculate what they spend when you’re out shopping. For instance, if your child has birthday money to spend, ask them to stay within their limit by adding up the cost of their items. You can also ask them to pay at the till and wait for any change.

Give Them a Goal

If there’s a particular toy your child wants to buy, ask them to save for it themselves. As parents its an instinct to provide your child with their needs and wants, but it’s a valuable life lesson. Offer to give your child pocket money in exchange for good behaviour, completed homework and completed chores. Agree on an amount per week and let your child work out how long it will take him/her to save for what they want.

Explain Bills

Unless you explain it, your child may not realise there’s such a thing as an electricity bill. Children have a habit of leaving lights on, wasting water and leaving the TV on when no-ones watching it. If you explain that every time they put a light on it costs money, they may think twice about doing it. You can also save money by switching energy providers. You can compare energy providers at Selectra energy comparison specialists.

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Teenage Spending

As your children get older, their wants get more expensive. When your children turn sixteen, encourage them to get their first job and save for the things they want. That may be their first car which could be the most money they’ve ever spent. Teach them how to budget their money so they have money left over to save and put towards a reliable car. Here are some of the best new cars for first time drivers.

Be Open

Remember the old chestnut, ‘not while you’re living under my roof’? Past generations didn’t tend to explain why they had to say no. If you haven’t got the money to buy something your child wants, tell them why. Explain that your money has to go towards higher priorities. They won’t always understand but giving them a reason is better than telling them that you know best. They’ll thank you for being open and honest in the long run.

Why teaching your children responsible finance is important

There will come a time when you will sit your children down and tell them how the world works. You care deeply about them, so you’ll teach them how to take care of themselves financially. You may have gone through points in your life when you have had to be frugal and times when you have invested. To set them up with the best knowledge, advice and respect for money, you will need a little help.

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Teach them, don’t lecture them.

Start them off young. You may find lecturing your children how to be responsible with money and taking care how they use it, might be a fruitless exercise. But there are dedicated routes you can put them on, where information in fun bite-sized portions can instil in them the values you want. Millennials by the age of 15 are beginning to understand how the economy works. Instead of sitting them down for a long talk about ‘pennies make the dollars’, give them something they can digest in their own time. Books on avoiding debt and having self-restraint can be a gift on a holiday or for their birthday. Don’t force it down their throats, they are, after all, going through a rebellion period at this age.

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Give them responsibility

Don’t patronise your children, the youngsters today aren’t what they used to be. Technology is at their fingertips, and most kids understand it; more than you might think. Take them with you to the bank, and set up a bank account in their name. Bring them through the process and let them ask you and the branch’s financial advisor questions. Another excellent strategy to get children interested in learning about finance is to go their school and request a fun segment with books, theatre and art on money, be incorporated into their everyday learning.

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A family project in renovating

For the keen, sharp-eyed investors, a property is there to be bought and sold. For the young entrepreneur, the property can be their very first business venture. Buying houses or apartments to renovate then sell, is a fantastic way for teenagers to become their own boss. As a parent or young entrepreneur, working with people you can trust such as family is crucial in taking the first step in the world of risk and reward. Buying an old house with your pooled resources and renovating the property into a modern family or professionals’ home, is a great route. When buying the materials you intend to use, look for deals, buy in bulk and plan out your budget and purchasing schedule. You will most likely be doing the renovating yourselves, so take the time to research the methods of professional builders to avoid time-consuming mistakes. When done correctly, your prudential real estate will be a hot potato, ready to be scooped up by many professionals.

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Selling your hard work

Property development can be a lucrative business. It not only stirs one’s creative juices but also requires the developer to do the research that will make their property incredibly attractive to the market. When it finally comes to selling your investment, auctioning your property to the highest bidder, rather than a fixed price set by a surveyor could give you more than you expected. You’re on shaky ground at this point, because different estate agents will quote you different prices. Go online and find a company with a track record that surpasses the competition, and will fight for you and sell your hard work for the absolute maximum.