We often talk about empowering your children to become the CEO of their own lives. And something that plays a huge part of the journey is molding the way they think about money.
Let’s face it: we all know someone who has been paying off their student loan debt for probably 10 or 15 years now. If you don’t want that to be your son or daughter’s future, it’s time to start instilling the money mindset.
Your child might not know much about money. Chances are, they probably don’t have much of it either. And so, they’re relying on you for that extra cash each time they want to do something. So, how do we change that?
Start by dividing money into three basic categories:
The next time they get their hands on some cash – whether it’s from a birthday card, babysitting, or the lemonade stand they set up over the weekend, you’ll want to make sure they divvy up that money into these three categories. No matter where it comes from, divide it.
“But mom…why do I have to save?!”
The first step is teaching them the importance of a rainy day fund. There are sunny days, and there are rainy days. The sunny days are the birthdays. They’re getting a ton of cards with a $20 bill tucked in. Or, they just finished up some chores around the house. So, you handed over their weekly allowance. The sunny days are the days where the money is flowing, and your kids are excited. But, you can’t forget about those rainy days: the days where money isn’t coming in.
A month from now, or two months from now, when something fun and exciting comes up, and they go to check that rainy day fund and it’s empty, they’re going to be upset. Explain why if they don’t add to it on the sunny days, they’re not going to be able to do that fun and exciting thing that they really wanted to do. So, one reason why saving is so important is just that: it allows for extra funds on the days you really want or need it.
The next part? Bigger picture. Sit down with your daughter, and ask her about her goals and dreams. What does she want to be when she grows up? An Olympic athlete? A Broadway star? Now, talk to her about what she’ll need to do to accomplish those dreams. Will she need to take classes? Hire a trainer? Travel? Teach her to look at money as a tool: and the sooner she starts thinking in baby steps, the more tools she’ll have to achieve her goals. Every dream has a cost!
Lastly: giving. Empower your child to give back and make a difference. The next time they’re having a “sunny day,” they should remember that there’s someone out there who might be having a rainy one. Explain that giving back will make them feel good, and come back around one day when they’re counting on someone.
Spending, spending, spending = instant gratification. There’s no denying that spending money is fun, right? And, we all love to have fun! But, saving allows your child the freedom to be strategic in their decision making. Saving = delayed gratification, and you might want something right now, but if you’re willing to wait to have something even better down the road, that’s a huge indicator of success.
Start to frame this money mindset by creating a partnership with your child. Let them know that the next time they ask for permission to do something, it will be much easier for you to support that decision when they come to you with a plan.
Are they dying to have a new bike? An expensive new game? Have a discussion together. How much will that cost? Can we afford it? How can they help around the house and earn the money? What’s their plan to work towards it, instead of wishing and hoping? Talk to them about taking action. Remember, it all goes back to becoming the CEO of her own life.
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