Raising fiscally and socially responsible children today can be challenging. From the moment that most children get their hands on an iPhone, they are asking for this $400 gadget. It seems that long gone are the days when fun was free. Additionally, there are many forces out there that are causing our children to grow up too quickly and teaching them things that we’d prefer they don’t know.
Perhaps now more than ever, in this world of instant gratification, it is critical to start teaching our children about the value of money early on.
This can start from the moment that a child can put a coin in his or her piggy bank. As parents who are responsible for raising the next generation, if we put in some added extra effort, we can all take steps to educate our children about financial discipline, hard work, and goal setting. Instilling strong values and a solid, socially responsible foundation is just as important.
Broken down, we can actually provide these life lessons through three different “gifts”- the Gift of Earning, the Gift of Giving, and the Gift of Education.
Give the Gift of Earning
Get children working early, working hard, and working often. This can start at a very early age. Even if you have a four year old, he or she can probably do the basics like clear a plate from the table after dinner. These little things will start them on the right track. Responsibilities can increase with age.
For ages 10-15, keep it simple. Once your children hit this age range, they can take on some work with more responsibility such as yard work, cleaning, babysitting, and clerical work. While all of these “jobs” can be done at home, encourage your children to go out and work for someone else.
They will likely have a better experience and feel a bit debt of responsibility.
Encourage entrepreneurship at a very early age. It is never too young to start instilling the values of a young entrepreneur. Think about your first lemonade stand and how excited you were to make your first dollar.
Set your children up for success by giving the tools, help, and support that they need.
Encourage internships during college. College internships are almost crucial now-a-days in order to get a land a job after college. Encourage your children to do internships both while they are in school and during the summers. They will learn invaluable skills and may also give them more focused insights to the career path they wish to follow.
Discuss realistic expectations for career choices. While everyone might like to make a million dollars, this is not always realistic. Educate your children on different career choices and the financial rewards that come from each one of them. Encourage your children to pursue something that they really want to do and that they will enjoy, not just a job that will pay them the most money.
Give the Gift of Giving
Charity works. Charity works takes the focus away from ourselves and opens our eyes to the struggles of others.
Doing vs. Giving. Teach your children the value in doing good for others. While giving monetarily may be easier to do, the true act of doing good for others teaches life lessons.
Donor Advised Funds. Donor advised funds are a charitable giving vehicle administered by a public charity created to manage charitable donations on behalf of organizations, families, or individuals. To participate in a donor advised fund, a donating individual or organization opens an account in the fund and deposits cash, securities, or other financial instruments. As a family, consider selecting a charity and giving through one of these funds.
Give the Gift of Education
Just saying no is a huge first step. Teach your children to say no to drugs and other harmful substances. Our schools are putting more and more programs in place to educate our children on these matters. But as parents, we must teach our children at home as well.
Set goals for “delayed gratification.” Parental modeling is the most important education we can give our children. It is important that we teach our children that we can’t always get what we want when we want it. We need to work for what we want and it may take time. Setting roadmaps and goals for success is important.