Friday, October 07, 2005

Are your kids financially savvy?

I’d like to start off by saying that I’m hesitant to write about kids because I don’t have any. But then again, I used to be a kid, so maybe I’m more qualified to write about them then I think. In any case, I am genuinely interested in kids and their relationships with money. The first blog I wrote covered this very topic. I guess as I get older, my appreciation for how my parents raised me grows. It’s because of them that I understand the value of saving.

This article,
Is your kid a spoiled brat?, from CNN Money offers some great advice for parents. Here are their five suggestions:

1) Give them an early start -- the earlier the better
2) Give them boundaries -- don't buy them everything they want
3) Give them responsibility -- let them make their own financial decisions
4) Give them allowance -- but make them work for it
5) Don't give in -- they'll thank you in the long run

I'd also like to add my own thoughts. I don't want to call it advice exactly, because I don't have kids and wouldn't dream of telling someone how to raise theirs.

1) Set a good example. It's probably not a great idea to lecture your kids about saving and delayed gratification and then go blow your paycheck on a new television when the one you have works perfectly fine. If you do want a new TV, at least show your kids the research and decision-making that goes into the purchase.

2) Teach them to recycle. I admit that I am one of those people who washes their Ziploc bags and reuses them. Hey, it saves me money and it makes less trash for the environment. There are plenty of ways to recycle or reuse household items. Be resourceful and creative. If you can't find a use for it, someone else probably can. Before you just throw things away, try donating them to a local school or shelter.

3) Practice feng shui. Ok, don't be scared. I'm only suggesting that you control clutter which means that every time you buy something new, get rid of something old. Don't just accumulate massive amounts of stuff. If you buy new clothes, donate some old ones to a shelter. Buy a new book and lend an old one to a friend. This will show kids that in order to have something new in your life, you need to make room for it.

4) Make friends with your neighbors. Growing up, I remember my parents and our neighbors borrowing each others tools, sharing leftovers or garden vegetables and doing favors like dogsitting or housecleaning. Just think of how much money that can save! Not to mention you'll be creating a closer knit community.

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