That will make their financial lives easier

13 Things to Teach Your Children

by Gary Foreman


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A well-known proverb says that if you train up a child properly, they'll remember that training when they've grown. That's probably especially true when it comes to their finances. Even when they're too young to understand money, what you teach them will affect how they deal with finances throughout their lives.

Let's look at 13 things you can teach your kids that will affect their financial futures.

Teach them that "hand-me-downs" are acceptable. It's easy when they're small to get them used to secondhand clothes and toys. They'll accept it as a natural part of life. When they grow up shopping at thrift stores or buying a used car will be easy for them.

Teach them to share with others. Kids learn "mine" very easily. Learning to share will pay greater dividends. Whether it's sharing an apartment with a roommate or a snow blower with a neighbor, sharing will save money throughout their life.

Teach them to save some of their income. Just because Grandma gives Junior a $20 for his birthday doesn't mean he has to spend all of it. Have him save $5 and spend the rest. If he learns that lesson now, he may avoid falling into credit card debt as an adult.

Teach them to cook. Groceries will consume a large part of their budget, especially if they have to eat convenience food, fast food, and at restaurants. With tools like slow cookers and microwaves, there's no reason not to learn some basic food preparation skills.

Teach them to appreciate a job well done. Yes, it's good to cheer on their efforts, but it's also important for them to learn to complete a task. Their future employers will thank you and so will their mate.

Teach them patience. We've all smiled at a four-year-old demanding "I want it now!" It's not so funny when they're 24. And, that lack of patience will cause them to buy things they don't need and to pay too much for the things that they do need.

Teach them patience - part 2. We'd all like our investments to double overnight, but if we learned patience as children, we know that's not possible. And knowing that we manage to avoid many financial scams.

Teach them to entertain themselves. Kids can have great fun making up games. They'll learn to be responsible for their own entertainment. That will help them avoid expensive vacations and cable packages as an adult.

Teach them to be generous with the less fortunate. It's the right thing to do, but also it will help them when they struggle. It's easier to face financial challenges when you realize that you're not alone and that others have it even harder.

Teach them to accept "no" as an answer. They'll hear it when they ask for a raise or apply for a loan. If they throw a tantrum like a two-year-old, they'll make the situation worse for themselves.

Discover simple ways to save for college.

Teach them about compound interest. Money earning more money could make them a fortune during a lifetime. But, if they allow themselves to build up credit card debt, they'll struggle with compound interest.

Teach them to think through a problem. The ability to analyze a problem, consider alternative solutions, and then follow a solution to a successful conclusion is invaluable. This is true in life in general, but it's also definitely true in personal finance. Your child will face problems. Knowing how to respond to those problems will make life easier for them.

Teach them to lose gracefully. When they grow up, there will always be someone with a bigger house or newer/fancier car. Believing that they always have to "win" could cause severe financial stress.

You know that being a parent is a big responsibility, and it's often a hard one. But, as the proverb says, the things that you teach your children today will pay dividends for the rest of their lifetime.


Gary Foreman

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar Stretcher.com website and newsletters in 1996. He's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money and CreditCards.com. Gary shares his philosophy of money here. You can follow Gary on Twitter or visit Gary Foreman on Google+. Gary is also available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.

Take the Next Step:

  • For more on teaching children money lessons, visit the Dollar Stretcher library.
  • It is never too early to start teaching your children the importance of saving. Compare savings and money market account rates and open an account for them today.
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