Start your child’s financial education journey today
To save or to spend? That question has plagued us all at some point. But how do we foster the save mentality in our youth? October 12th is National Savings Day, inviting us to pause and consider our relationship with money and how our financial habits will influence our children’s perspective. Are we modeling smart saving and spending habits and encouraging our children to be considerate with how they earn, save and spend their money?
Your children will model your financial behaviors and start forming financial habits at a young age. Does that statement make you proud or cause you to worry? If it is the latter, don’t stress, there are resources available to get yourself and your children on the right track.
It will reassure many parents that statistics show Gen Z to be more mindful of saving based on their experience watching their parents grapple with the recession of 2008, and with the financial fallout of COVID-19. This generation still has much to learn about money management, but many kids already have an awareness you can build on.
Where should you start? Here are three things you can start doing today to set your kids on the path to smart savings and financial stability:
- Wants vs. needs. Talk with your kids about the difference between what they want and need in real-life terms. You might want to buy a giant TV and a freezer full of ice cream, but you need to pay monthly bills and purchase food for all meals, not just dessert. Show them your monthly budget and how much you set aside for recurring spending and for saving for the future.
- Talk about how much things cost. Don’t assume kids conceptualize dollars and cents the way you do. Nowadays, they see us swipe a card at the store rather than exchange physical money, so the concept can be vague. Explaining how much you have to spend and how much things cost can help make money “real” to them.
- Open a youth savings account. Do this as early as possible so they can start saving and it becomes a routine. Whether it’s $10 from mowing a lawn or $40 from babysitting, setting and reaching savings goals fosters a positive perception of money. Have them track progress and work with them to set reward milestones, such as purchasing a small item that won’t wipe out their account.
If you’re intimidated to teach your kids about money management because you aren’t the most financially savvy parent, consider this a great time to bolster your own knowledge. Contact a financial coach to revamp your budgeting practices and involve your kids in the process. There are numerous free resources online and through community organizations, so don’t let finances hold you back from educating yourself and your children.
Most of all, be transparent with your children. Let them know some of your missteps or give a peek behind the curtain on family finances. It may just open their eyes to what you struggle with and make money “real” to them. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by to start your kids off on the path to financial literacy and security. Start your child’s financial education journey today.
Rachel Galvez is the Marketing Partnerships Manager at Arizona Federal Credit Union. A mom of two, Rachel is committed to empowering families with the information they need to make smart financial decisions now and set their children on the path to financial success in the future.
An Activity for National Savings Day
To celebrate National Savings Day, let each of your kids pick out an inexpensive piggy bank and provide them with a variety of stickers, glitter glue, tape, ribbon, etc. to decorate it however they want. Personalizing their own bank will help kids get excited about starting to save! When they have been saving a while and their piggy bank starts getting full or reaches a milestone you have set together, celebrate by taking it to the bank or credit union branch to deposit into their account. Make it a memorable occasion by celebrating with a treat, purchasing a small item they’ve been saving for or calling a grandparent to share their big news.