School’s out? Money lessons can still be learned

kid piggy bankAt the risk of stating the obvious, our basic job as parents is to provide our kids with the tools they’ll need to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted, successful grown-ups. While your definition of “successful” will vary, there is one tool that is invaluable- establishing a relationship with money. Kids have more time over the summer, so they might even be more open to your life lessons- ah the incredible power of boredom.

No pressure, but your kids are watching your every move, and nowhere is that more the case then when it comes to money. Your attitude towards spending and saving will shape their dealings with money for a lifetime. Literally every step you take financially is not only impacting your current financial situation, but your kids’ financial future as well.

Hard work reaps rewards

You have a job- so should your kids. Even if they are little.

One of the hardest things to explain to kids (even older kids) is the relationship between time, earning and money. Kids (at an increasingly younger age) are eyeing big ticket items. They need to understand the expense- and that “because everyone else has one” is not really a fiscally responsible criteria.

Work + time = money to spend

Have them set a goal for the item that they want. You’ll split the cost with them, but they have to earn their portion. They can help with household chores, scour the neighbourhood for lawns to cut or driveways to shovel. Older kids can babysit or even get a part-time job.

In setting this goal, not only are they able to have their own sense of pride in achieving their goals, they are learning how to avoid the “buy now pay later” trap that is at the source of much credit use.

Instant gratification is a hard concept to battle, especially in today’s society, where kids have access to information, literally, at their fingertips in an instant. It’s time to get old school, use a little elbow grease and harness the power of time to teach those lessons.

Show your work

If they don’t already, open up a bank account for them. Check the balance frequently, so they can see it accumulating. For younger kids, you may want to do something more tangible, like putting money in a jar, so they can literally see it grow.