It’s never too early to start teaching your children about financial responsibility. Whether they’re receiving savings bonds with their birthday presents or collecting the change from your pockets in a jar by their bed, all children can benefit from learning simple money saving strategies at a young age.
But at what point do you expect your children to become financially responsible for themselves? Is it when they get their first job or enroll in college? If they’re lucky, maybe you’ve decided to wait until they’re finished with higher education completely. It may be hard to tell your child that they’re out of luck when they ask for some extra cash, but with payday loans through lenders like Wonga.com or the help of a part-time job, they’ll surely benefit from learning on their own without the help of mom and dad.
So it’s up to you to decide: how old is too old?
With college graduates increasingly heading back home to their families while searching for a job (and sometimes long after), it can be hard to see where to draw the line. But by coddling your child and never letting them learn by trial and error you’ll be doing a disservice to yourself and them.
If you’re not ready to throw your child out in the cold quite yet, start small by letting them know what your expenses really add up to. Send them to the grocery store with cash and a list and let them see that even the small items add up quickly. If you’ve never shared with your children how much you bring home on a monthly basis, consider sitting them down and letting them see your budget. Oftentimes children grow up in a fantasy that money is disposable and there’s no need to worry about whether or not the bills will get paid. While it’s admirable to prevent your children from worrying, it doesn’t do them justice when they don’t realize how hard you work for the money you earn.
Start off early while they’re teenagers and get their first job. Make it a priority to take them to the bank when they get their first paycheck and set them up with both a checking and a savings account. If they’re a part of the smartphone generation, download online banking on their phone and encourage them to check their balance before each purchase. Allow them to get that new phone they’ve been wanting, but only under the condition that they pay you back in small installments. Soon they’ll realize that monthly bills take a toll on their balance and they’ll have to decide what their priorities are.
If you start from a young age and are clear and honest about where your money comes from and where it goes, you’re much more likely to see your child grow into a financially stable adult.