Did you know? According to a 2019 RBC Family Finances Poll, 9 out of 10 parents (96%) are financially supporting their children (ages 18-35 years). On average, this costs parents $5,623 per year! This is an added cost that many parents cannot afford. In fact, approximately 3 in 10 parents (32%) are seeing delayed retirement in order to help kids with post-secondary costs and are facing an inability or delayed response in paying off their own debts.
As much as parents want to help their kids, it should not be done at the jeopardy of your own future. In fact, when it comes to teaching your children about money, there is no better time to start than now!
Financial independence is a critical skill for future success that your children will not learn anywhere else. Not only does financial literacy help your children have more success in life, but it allows them to move out sooner and it avoids delaying retirement!
So, how do you teach your children about money?
Review Your Attitude Towards Money
The first and most important thing is to examine your own attitude towards money. Are you a penny pincher? Frivolous spender? Do you buy on impulse, or take a long time to make a purchase? How much debt do you have? Your financial habits will shape your children’s. To ensure that you are setting them up for their best financial future, parents need to consider what messages they are sending with their own money habits.
Give Your Children an Allowance
Providing an allowance to your children (especially one exchange for chores) is an age-old way of teaching your kids about money. A good guideline is $0.50 to $1.00 per year of your child’s age. For a 10-year-old, this would be $5 to $10 per week.
Teach Your Child to Save
If you are giving your child $10 per week in allowance for chores, encourage them to put even just $0.50 per week into a piggy bank. In six months, show them how much money they have saved and talk to them about why it is important, and what they can do with that larger amount now.
Encourage Kids to Think Before They Buy
While it’s hard to get a 10-year-old excited about an RRSP, there are other ways to help them plan ahead. One is to encourage them to think about their purchases before they commit. They saw a toy on TV they have to have? Teach them about how advertisements are designed to make you want something. Ask them to wait a week. Do they still want it?
Involve Your Children in the Family Finances
Growing up, I always saw my mother balancing the budget. In fact, I cannot tell you how many times I walked into her office while she was going through endless bank and credit card statements to ensure things matched up. Seeing the time she would devote to this was proof enough about its importance for me. This is why it is so valuable to let your kids see and hear you discuss financial planning; let them be part of opening and paying bills or planning vacations. Explain why you pay certain things and discuss affordable choices.
Remember, you are the best example to your children about money. Don’t be afraid to share the ups and downs with them. Be patient with your kids, but don’t give up! The best thing you can do as a parent is to promote financial security and independence.