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Why Talk About Money With Your Children?

Why is it important to talk about money with our children? As a society, we’ve come to understand that staying silent on the topics of sex and drugs can often lead to negative or unwanted consequences. The same is true for money.

Starting the money conversation early, and having it often, in an age-appropriate way helps prepare our children for managing their own money wisely.

Stay silent about it and you risk leaving your children open to the pitches of TV adverts and peer pressure. Much better for you to take conscious control over what they are learning rather than the bombardment of advertising or negative portrayal in films and the media.

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Theresa Harezlak, a financial adviser with Savant Capital Management and a mother of two, says the biggest money mistake that parents make is silence.

“Every time my kids go outside I tell them to be careful crossing the roads and do not talk to strangers, but we never talk about money. In reality”, she says, “the chances of her kids being abducted are very low, but the chances of her children using money are certain”.


Theresa Harezlak

Staying silent about money and you risk leaving your children open to the pitches of TV, adverts and peer pressure. Much better for you to take conscious control over what they are learning rather than the bombardment of advertising or negative portrayal in films and the media.

For example think of how many films or TV shows have the arch villain as some kind of reclusive billionaire. In fact how many positive examples of rich people can you call to mind?

In my view, too many parents don’t talk about money with their kids at all. Others skirt topics they don’t know much about, like investing and debt. Parents are the main source of money information for children, but 74% of parents are reluctant to discuss family finances with their kids, according to the 2014 T. Rowe Price Parents, Kids, and Money Survey. That’s a big shame, because ignorance about money can set up your kids to make bad decisions — and eventually pass those bad habits on to your grandchildren.

The solution: Make financial literacy a family value

In her book, Do I Look Like an ATM?: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Responsible African American Children, Sabrina Lamb details “the business of your family household.” Lamb, says all families should work together on five financial topics: learning, earning, saving, investing, and donating time or funds to causes you value. She recommends a daily diet of business news, occasional meetings between the kids, your bank, or other financial advisors, and support of your older kids’ entrepreneurial goals. This might be a bit idealistic for many but using the news or an online article as a stimulus for a conversation about money could be a good start.

Even if money is tight, don’t stress about it in silence.

When parents are worried about money but are not communicating their financial situation, children pick up on the anxiety and associate it broadly with finances. Rather than learning money lessons from their parent’s mistakes or particular situation, children instead learn that money is ‘stressful’ and ‘bad’.

A 2013 Study by Cambridge University for the Money Advice Service revealed that our money values and habits are formed in childhood often before the age of 7. If a child is growing up with the programming that money is stressful and bad what are the chances that they will ever make any as an adult?

This is why the primary goal behind The Financial Fairy Tales books is to help spread positive, empowering messages about money to children and counteract the negative bias they may be exposed to elsewhere.

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Three Reasons For Teens to Start Saving

It’s so easy to waste money, even more so when you’re young and are yet to learn the real value of it. But starting young is the key to setting yourself up for success later on, and if you have kids or teens, here are just three reasons it’s worth them saving what they can. It could be money from birthdays and Christmas, pocket money or part time jobs.

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Education

College and university is expensive, and chances are they’ll need to utilise loans and perhaps help from you to pay for things like books, fees and accommodation. But saving up towards education is no bad thing, and if they start a couple of years before they leave they’ll go away with a nice buffer. This can make it easier to afford travelling around the city they’re in, food, socialising and other daily living costs. When teens move away to university, it’s often the first time they’ll get a proper taste of independence, they’ll be managing their own money for the first time. Being equipped with some of their own money can make the process run much more smoothly, and if it’s cash they’ve saved themselves they’re likely to be that bit more careful with it as well.

A car and driving lessons

Being able to drive gives so much independence, and it’s this which teens and young people really crave. Learning to drive, theory tests, practical tests and other extras can really add up, not to mention the purchase and running costs of a car. Saving up before they’re old enough to drive means that once they reach the legal driving age they can book some lessons right away. Or once they pass, they can get themselves a car. Even if they can’t cover these costs completely and you need to foot the rest, it can make things easier for you and using their own savings means they’ll appreciate it more. Being able to drive can also open up the door to more jobs, those that are further away or those that require driving. It could even lead to setting up their own business. You can find finance deals for vans on sites like The Good Van Company so you don’t even need all of the money upfront.

Deposit for a house

Getting onto the property ladder is so worthwhile. Once you move out and start renting, it’s easy to remain stuck in the ‘renting trap.’ You can’t save much money for a deposit as all of your money is being spent on rent and bills. Once they’re working full time but before they move out of the parental home, it’s worth having a chat with teens and young adults about saving for a deposit. Living at home while they save means they’ll reach their goals much more quickly. When they do eventually move, it could be into something of their own rather than it going to a landlord every month.

All of these things can feel like a long way off when your child is in their early teens, but the years fly by. Anything they can save up now can all go towards a brighter future later on.

Helping Kids Learn About Money

Has there ever been a more important time to help our kids learn about money? Record levels of student debt, lack of financial education in schools, unconscious spending through apps and games plus the movement towards a cashless society are all compelling reasons.

Did you know that research has shown many of our values and beliefs around money are formed by the age of 7?
This means that as adults, our money decisions are being heavily influenced by the ideas we picked up as kids, whether helpful, or for many a hindrance.

The Financial Fairy Tales are a fun way to introduce money ideas and tools from an early age. Concepts such as saving, investment, budgets and entrepreneurship are explored though stories set in a fairy tale world.

The Financial Fairy Tales Patreon - helping kids learn about money
The first 3 Financial Fairy Tales stories and Activity Book

We have big plans for 2019 and beyond which includes 3 new story books, more learning activities and an animation series. Above all we want to help more kids around the world grow up with a better understanding of money by providing the skills, tools and beliefs which will empower them now and in the future.

How You Can Help

By becoming a supporter through Patreon, you can help us continue our work in creating these stories and learning activities. Patreon is a website and platform where people just like you can choose to support creative and artistic projects – whilst getting lots of cool benefits for yourself.

Visit the Financial Fairy Tales Patreon page and help us to help more kids learn about money.

Smart Parents Teach Their Kids These 6 Things About Money

One of our main jobs as a parent is to impart enough knowledge and wisdom to our children so they can not only survive in the world but thrive as well. Of course, in modern society, this means educating them on money and finances as well. A topic you can read more about below.

Spending more than you have is always a bad idea.

While our whole society seems to be built on the idea of borrowing money to pay for things that we could not afford to buy outright, educating your kids that spending more than you have on a consistent basis is a bad idea is crucial. This is because if you don’t, not only does it mean that they will get used to a lifestyle that is way beyond their means, but it also sets them on the slippery slope towards unmanageable debt.

Of course, this makes it an essential lesson that you kids need to learn about money. Luckily, it is possible to instill this wisdom in them from an early age by providing them with an allowance, and then encouraging them to save at least a portion of this each month.

Also, you may wish to encourage children to work and save for items they want, as opposed to buying everything for them. The reason being that this can also help them to get into the habit of raising the money before they spend it.  

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Installing a good work ethic in your kids early on can be a game changer.

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The is usually a way out of a financial jam no matter how tight it is.

Another valuable lesson that you need to impart to your kids is that there is nearly always a way out of a financial jam, no matter how serious it is. For example, there are many debt relief agencies out there that can help consolidate debts, something that means it’s much easier to pay them off at a reasonable price each month, which is knowledge that it is essential for your kids to know about, but not plan to rely on.  

Alternatively, there are also loans were someone else vouches for you and promises to cover the debt if you default. This can be hugely helpful if someone is in a financial fix, but their credit is poor. Of course, you will also need to remind your kids to shop around for the best apr guarantor loans and other financial products as well, as some will offer a lower interest rate and other benefits. Something that can make all the difference when it comes to being able to pay them back, and so could help your children have a better quality of life as well as get out of financial trouble if the need arises.

Saving is good, but investing is better.

Parents also need to emphasize the importance of not just saving money, but also investing it as well. In fact, it is hugely important to teach your kids about investing because no other action can allow them to increase their net worth in such a drastic way.

 

Sadly, even now the investment market has become much more accessible to the everyday person because of apps, and low management fees, few people realize the long-term benefits of this activity. Therefore It’s crucial to make your kids not only aware of all the investment options that are available to them including property, cryptocurrency, and futures but also educate them on how these platforms work.

Also don’t forget that as a rule investment is a cumulative process, and that means the sooner your children can begin on this path, the easier their financial future will be. Therefore be sure to explain and emphasizes the value of investing during their mid to late teens so they can get a jump on the competition.

Money doesn’t make you happy, but it can help.

It is also hugely important that as a parent you help your children to understand that money in and of itself isn’t what makes people happy. In fact, it’s the lifestyles, health care, and reduced stress that those with good finances enjoy that is the key.

What this means is that it’s crucial to delineated the quest for becoming rich and yet not spending any of this in ways that enrich life, and doing the opposite. Therefore, be sure to listen to your children’s opinion on what they want to do in their lives, in term of their career, and their goals, as well as who they want to be and adapt your financial education to this.

After all, just recommending that all you kids go into high paying finance positions is a one size fits all solution that is unlikely to work for most people. In fact, at worst it can land your kids in a career that is unfulfiling, even cause them to resent you for pushing them in that direction in the first place.

Monitoring spending is a task that needs to be done regularly.

It’s likely that as a patient you will make an effort to teach your kids that they need to wash up after they have cooked and eaten a meal and that the need to change their socks and underwear each day. However, it can be all too easy to forget to teach them that monitoring what has been spent each day should be a regular task as well.

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In fact, by establishing this as a part of their daily routine, you give your kids the tools to much better monitor what is happening with their finances. This can help them make improved buying decisions, avoiding impulse buys, and stay out of debt. All things that mean this small daily task can have a considerable effect on their financial well-being through the entirety of their life.

Finances don’t have to be confusing.

Lastly, it’s incredibly important that you teach your kids that correctly managing their money and budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing. In fact, sometimes the simple systems can work much better not only because they are clearer to follow and stick to, but also because they make dealing with financial matters a lot less intimidating. Thus making this final lesson one that is also crucial to impart to your children.

 

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Teaching Your Children about Debt and Borrowing Money

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Most people don’t get into debt out of sheer stupidity. Most people get into debt because they have not been educated about money – or more specifically borrowing money. They find themselves in a situation whereby they need money quickly, and they borrow it without fully understanding what they are letting themselves into. There are then those who are enticed by all of these amazing promotional offers, and they sign up to a number of credit cards without considering how this is going to impact their rating. The obvious solution may seem simple: avoid borrowing money altogether. However, if you do this, you won’t have a credit history at all, and this is arguably just as damaging as having a bad credit report. So, we need to educate our children about borrowing money responsibly, the impact of borrowing on their credit report, and what to do if they do find themselves in debt. After all, in some cases, debt is unavoidable.

LESSON ONE: THE VARIOUS WAYS YOU CAN BORROW MONEY

Firstly, you need to make sure your children are aware of the different methods of borrowing money. In general, this can be split into two categories: loans and credit cards. Of course, there are then many different types of loans and credit cards. With regards to the former, you will be given a certain amount of money, which you will then have to pay back to the lender with interest on top. With a credit card, you will have access to a certain amount of money, and you will only be subject to interest if you do not pay the full amount off by a certain day of the month. Credit cards are ideal for those who need access to money to tick them over until they get paid. If you are self-employed, for example, and you don’t know what date of the month your money is going to come in, you can use a credit card to tide you over until then. A loan is more suitable when you are making a large purchase. There are many different types of loans, including bank loans, secured loans, and payday loans. The latter provides a fast loan approval for those in need of money as quickly as possible. However, the APR tends to be very high, so you’ll end up spending a lot of money taking the loan out. A secured loan will be secured against one of your assets, for example, your car or your home. If you default on your payments, the lender can sell your vehicle or your property to cover the payments you have missed. It is important to teach your children about the different factors they need to consider when taking out a loan or applying for a credit card. A lot of people never learn about APR, and so they end up borrowing money without having a full understanding of how much they are paying for it. This is an easy way to get into debt, and it can be avoided with simple education.

LESSON TWO: CREDIT REPORT

The next thing you need to teach your children about is their credit report. Explain that their credit report is something that a lender will view when determining whether to lend them money. This does not only relate to companies who deal with loans and credit cards, but catalogue companies, furniture stores offering financial plans to pay off furniture over the course of a few years, phone contract businesses, and such like. It is, therefore, critical to maintain a good credit score. Unfortunately, a lot of people end up causing damage to their credit report without even realising it. This is why you need to teach your children about the different aspects that do and do not impact a credit score, and the steps they can take to improve their credit score. One thing a lot of people do not realise is that they do not have one set credit score. There are a number of companies that provide credit reports, and most companies and lenders will look at one or several credit reports to gauge whether someone is credible to lend to. People can access their credit reports online, and it is a good idea to do so, so that you can have a general understanding of what your score is, where you are going wrong, and where you are going right.

So, let’s go over the different elements that make up your credit report, and the impact they have:

  • Your personal information – One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your credit score is to make sure that all of your personal information is up to date. If it isn’t, lenders may struggle to verify who you are, and this can have a negative impact on your rating. Plus, if your personal details aren’t correct, you could miss out on notifications, which could result in you failing to pay a bill, which will, of course, have a bad impact on your credit score.
  • The total balance of your active credit accounts – The total balance of your active credit accounts plays a crucial role in determining your score. If you have a mortgage, this will not be included within the calculations. This includes your credit cards, any purchases you are still paying for, overdraft facilities you are using, and any loans you have taken out. If you owe more than $15,000, this will have a negative impact on your credit score. If you owe more than $30,000, this will decrease your score even further.
  • How much of your available credit you are using – There are a number of factors to consider here. Firstly, your highest credit limit will play a role. If you have a credit card with a limit over $1,000, this will improve your credit rating, as it shows that you are a low risk borrower. However, you also need to think about how much of your available credit you are using. For example, if you are using 95 percent of the credit you have available to you, this is bound to have a negative impact on your score, as it indicates you are relying heavily on credit.
  • Payments – Are you keeping up with your payments? This is the most important factor of them all when it comes to your credit score, as a late or missed payment will stay on your account for roughly six years.
    • The age of your credit accounts – Again, there are a number of factors to take into account here. Firstly, the average age of all of your credit accounts is considered. Having an average age of 33 months or more is considered a positive. Also, the number of new credit accounts you have opened. If you have opened a number of accounts within a three-month period, for example, this will have a negative impact. However, if you have only opened one credit account, this will not have a bad impact on your score.
    • Credit applications – This is where a lot of people have a negative effect on their score without even realising. Many people decide to make numerous credit applications, and then they will accept the best credit card they get approved for. A lot of people also try their luck, applying for cards they are unlucky to get accepted for on the off chance that they will. This will have a negative impact on your score, as credit applications are included in your report. There are soft searches, which don’t impact your score, and hard searches, which do impact your score. The best thing to do is use one of the online services that are available to determine your chances of being accepted. This ensures you only apply for credit cards whereby you have a high chance of approval, so that you don’t need to carry out numerous applications.

LESSON THREE: WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET INTO DEBT

Last but not least, it is important not only to teach our children about avoiding getting into debt, but also about what to do if you do get into debt. The problem can easily get worse and worse when someone does not know how to deal with debt. It can seem like the end of the world, but it doesn’t need to be. In fact, you will find plenty of inspirational stories on the Internet about people that have gotten themselves out of severe debt.

Most people agree that the best way to tackle debt is to pay off the biggest debt first while making the minimum payments on all loans and cards to ensure you are not subject to any further fees. You should also ring up your credit card provider or any other lender you owe money to and see if you can negotiate more favourable terms. It is then a case of examining where you went wrong and how you got into debt in the first place. This will help to ensure you do not make the same mistake again.