Relying on Credit Cards May Be Hurting Kids’ Financial Outlooks
Credit cards and expenses
Many children watch their parents live on credit cards. When they need a new item or have a bill, their parents reach for their plastic card and magically they complete the transaction. Relying on credit cards does little to truly teach children about managing money or being financially responsible adults. Here are some tips on finding ways to teach children about money.
Teaching the value of money
Schools teach reading, writing and math, but rarely do they cover everyday tasks such as paying bills, understanding budgets, or working with interest. It’s up to parents to do the educating of children in this area. Here are some steps for you if you’re trying to teach your child about money:
1. Start teaching children early about money. Gone are the days of letting a child live completely oblivious to finances. In today’s tough times, children need to know that money has to be managed. Some of the ways to do this are to teach children about saving their hard-earned cash. Let them see their dollars accumulating in a box or drawer. When it’s full enough let them take it to their bank account and deposit it. Visual learning is a great way to get a message across. If they see their money growing, they can get an idea of how it will work in the future.
2. Teach children where money comes from and the correlation between work and pay. Normally children believe that money “comes from mommy and daddy.” When mom and dad are out of cash, normally credit cards take care of purchases. Every child should be taught the basic concept of how working brings in money. And then how money buys things. And then how we use things and repeat the cycle. Paying children for out-of-the-ordinary tasks, like helping clean out a garage or attic, can also help them see the value of hard work.
3. Consider offering your children allowances. Experts debate the effectiveness of allowances and whether or not children should be paid to do everyday chores. One way to handle this is to pay children for large tasks that aid the family, but do not pay them for their responsibilities. Their responsibilities can include keeping their rooms clean, sweeping and mopping, picking up their toys and helping with laundry. On the other hand, if the family is having a garage sale, they could pay the child for keeping everything lined up neatly or organizing goods to be sold.
4. Make the savings plan interesting. Depending on your child’s age, help them to engage in saving money. For a younger child it could mean decorating a piggy bank. For an older child it may mean helping them save for a bicycle or larger item.
The importance of finances
With the recession hitting hard, it’s more important than ever to understand how finances work. Children need to have some instruction from parents on how to make money, how to save money, how to budget money, how credit cards work, how loans work, and how to manage it all. For their futures to be secure, they need everyday learning presented at an understandable level. Working to educate children today helps create financially responsible citizens of tomorrow.