Many of us agree that it takes decades, if not a lifetime of trial-and-error to master sound money management – so let’s make it easier for our kids. November is Financial Literacy Month across the country and that presents an ideal opportunity for families to explore ‘teachable moments.’
“Attaining financial literacy is often one small step at a time, but each experience adds to our knowledge, skills, and confidence with day-to-day money decisions,” says Tony Garcia, president and CEO at ForestersTM, an international financial services provider known for its commitment to enhance family well-being. “Those skills are fundamental to the well-being of families – and of course, children do learn quickly by example.”
Since the average lifestyle today must deal with an increasing number of financial decisions at an ever-younger age, it is an eye-opener when Canadians admit to significant money challenges from reading financial statements, to managing credit cards, to planning for retirement.
Did you know, for instance, that 38 per cent of households say they do not follow a budget, according to an ABC Life Literacy survey conducted by Ipsos Reid1? This number won’t improve if children in those homes grow up to do the same.
“Parents are exacting on some things, like arranging for life insurance to replace lost income in the event of their death, but they may miss those little opportunities, like involving children in adding and subtracting household money,” Garcia continues. “The key to raising money-smart kids is to involve them in some of the day-to-day money decisions.”
Foresters, which provides its members with access to competitive scholarships and emergency assistance grants2, and is also known for building playgrounds and providing funding and volunteer opportunities for organizations like Ronald McDonald House Charities®, has posted some valuable tips (at foresters.com) for guiding children towards healthy financial habits, including:
Talk to young kids about the family grocery budget in the supermarket
Link their allowance to household chores so it shows the connection between money and work
Explain to teens the difference between needs and trendy ‘must-haves’
Ask for a contribution to their expenses (like cell phone bills and sports) if your teen has a part-time job
Demonstrate caution with a first credit card, explaining how interest is charged and the consequences of not paying the monthly balance
Show young adults how to manage their cash flow and stick to a monthly budget
Clearly define the repayment terms and conditions if you make them a loan.