Five Tips to Help Your Kids Thrive in Any Economy

It took America’s economy taking a nose dive for financial education for kids and teens to finally become a ‘hot topic’. Even still, financial literacy continues to take a back seat to the classic reading, writing and arithmetic directives from up above.So, until financial education for kids and teens becomes the critical life skill it is, here are five tips parents can use to prepare their youngsters for solid financial success as adults.Tip #1: Talk to your kids about where money comes from. Explain that money usually comes from work, i.e., trading your time and energy for the green stuff that supports our lives. Even more importantly, explain that money doesn’t have to always come from their work; it can also come from putting your money to work for you.Tip #2: Familiarize your children with banks – not the piggy kind, but the institutions. A bank is the first place we go outside of the home to save our money. Kids need to understand how banks work so go with them as early as possible to get them their own savings account. Then, help them develop the important habit of depositing money into that account on a regular basis.Tip #3: Talk about what it means to ‘invest’ money, not just save it. Investing involves the purchase of different types of assets (real estate, stocks, businesses) so that money grows over time, eventually providing for you when you’re unable to, or don’t want to, work anymore. Explaining the concept of compound interest or compound growth gives your kids a sense of what’s possible.Tip #4: Give your kids plenty of opportunity and time for “money practice”: spending, saving, investing and donating. Practice is how we master most everything and plenty of financial practice now gives your kids the chance to make mistakes while the stakes are still low. It also gives them time to develop their self-esteem and confidence with money.Tip #5: Help your children learn The Language of Money. Learning financial terms and definitions is the first step to successfully navigating the adult world of finance. There are lots of great money sites on the web. A fun, simple activity you can do with your kids is to financial websites and together, choose one financial terms to learn each day. Then, you and the kids look for the new terms in the financial sections of newspapers and magazines. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your children learn to speak the language of money.These five tips can help you create financially savvy adults out of almost any child. And please remember, they aren’t going to learn this stuff at school so it’s your job as a parent to make sure they learn it at home.