NC (Scott McGillivray) Children are never too young to learn basic financial skills. The earlier you start, and the more you teach them, the easier it will be for them to navigate the complexities of personal finance as they grow up. While some schools are now adding financial literacy into the curriculum, there’s an important role for parents to play in teaching kids how to manage their money. Here are some ways you can help your kids become financially literate.
1. Nothing in life is free. How many times have your kids asked for a new toy, with no understanding of the cost? Even young children can be taught the concept that things cost money. Let them know how much the item they’re asking for costs, and compare it to the costs of other items. It won’t register right away, but it will introduce the idea and give them something to think about.
2. An allowance. A great way to start teaching your children about money is to start giving them some. Help them set a savings goal. Is there a special toy they want? How much does it cost, and how much do they need to save to buy it? The allowance doesn’t have to be a lot––even a small amount will help teach them the value of saving.
3. Earning their allowance. You can take this one step further, and create a special list of chores. You may want your kids to pick up their toys, do their homework, or bring their dishes to the kitchen without any specific reward, but for larger chores, consider letting them earn a token amount that they can put towards their savings.
4. Open a bank account. Now that your child is learning how to value money and save, it’s probably time for them to open a bank account. Start getting them more familiar with words like compound interest!
5. Give a little (or a lot). An important lesson in life is learning that there are people who need a hand up. Now that your child is saving, don’t forget to talk to them about charity, and why giving to others is just as important as saving responsibly. Talk to them about charities you support and why. Habitat for Humanity Canada is a great example, because they don’t offer a handout, but a hand up. It’s a smart investment too — for every $1 you donate, there are $4 in benefits to the community.
Scott McGillivray is the star of hit TV series Moving the McGillvrays and Income Property on HGTV Canada and proud supporter of Habitat for Humanity Canada. Learn more at habitat.ca/150reasonstobuild.