It's Your Money  

Financial lessons for your children

Learning early about money

Teaching kids about money is one of the most valuable lessons we can impart on them. It is crucial to help them understand the value of money and how to manage it properly.

By starting early, we can set our children up for a lifetime of financial stability and success. And unfortunately, these are lessons they just aren’t learning in school (yet).

So since it’s up to you, here are six money lessons that you can teach kids that will stick with them through adulthood:

Start with the basics—saving and budgeting

One of the most important things kids need to learn about money is how to save and budget. It's important to teach them to prioritize their spending, set financial goals, and save for them. This could be something as simple as teaching them to put aside a portion of their allowance or earnings for their future needs or wants. They can also learn how to make a budget by identifying their needs and wants and then allocating their money accordingly.

You can help them understand the concept of compound interest and how even small amounts of savings can grow significantly over time. By starting early, they will learn the value of delayed gratification and the importance of planning ahead.

Teach them to be responsible borrowers

As kids grow up, they will encounter situations where they need to borrow money—whether it's for a car, a home, or even college. It's essential to teach them how to be responsible borrowers by understanding the different types of loans, interest rates, and repayment terms.

You can also teach them about credit scores and how they are impacted by missed payments, high debt levels, and other financial missteps. By teaching them the importance of responsible borrowing, they will learn to manage their finances more effectively and avoid financial pitfalls.

Encourage entrepreneurship and teach them about investing

Another essential money lesson that kids should learn is how to start a business and what running a business entails. Encourage your children to start a small business, such as a lemonade stand or a lawn mowing service, to teach them about entrepreneurship and the value of hard work.

Help them write up a miniature business plan that outlines the costs to deliver their product or service (cost of lemonade, upkeep and gas for the lawnmower, etc) and how much they will charge customers to determine their net profit. A simple marketing plan should be built in here too!

Introduce your children to investing

You can also introduce them to the stock market by teaching them about basic investment principles, such as diversification, risk management, and long-term investing. This will help them develop a better understanding of the economy and the financial markets, as well as the power of compounding.

Consider helping them open a small self-managed portfolio online and hold different asset types in there so they learn how each one behaves. The amount they invest is not important but instead focus on the learning potential.

Teach them to differentiate between wants and needs

One of the biggest challenges that adults face when it comes to managing their finances is differentiating between wants and needs. Kids need to learn this distinction early on so that they can make wise financial decisions throughout their lives.

Teach them to prioritize their needs over their wants and to save for the things they truly want, rather than relying on credit or borrowing to purchase things they can't afford. By teaching them to delay gratification, they will learn to be more disciplined and make better financial choices in the long run.

If they are earning money through a job, small business or even an allowance—divide this money into different want and need “pots” to keep it separate and the future use clear.

Be a good role model

Finally, one of the most important ways to teach kids about money is by being a good role model. If you live beyond your means, carry debt, or make poor financial decisions, your kids are likely to pick up on these habits. Instead, show them how to live within your means, save for the future, and make wise financial choices.

Involve them in household budgeting decisions and teach them to be mindful of their spending habits. By being a good financial role model, you will give your children the tools they need to succeed financially in adulthood.

Teaching kids about money is one of the most important things we can do as parents. By starting early and teaching them the basics, we can set them up for a lifetime of financial stability and success. By being a good financial role model ourselves, we can help our children develop the skills they need to make wise financial choices throughout their lives.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Brett Millard is vice-president and a member of the executive leadership team at FP Canada, the national professional body for the financial planning industry. A not-for-profit organization, FP Canada works in the public interest to foster better financial health for all Canadians by leading the advancement of professional financial planning in Canada. 

He has worked in the financial advice industry for more than 15 years and is designated as a chartered investment manager (CIM) and is a certified financial planner (CFP).

He has written a weekly financial planning column since 2012 and provides his readers with easy to understand explanations of the complex financial challenges they face in every stage of life. Enhancing the financial literacy of Canadian consumers is a top priority for Brett and his ongoing efforts as a finance writer focus on that initiative. 

Please let Brett know if you have any topics you’d like him to cover in future columns ,or if you’d like a referral to a qualified CFP professional in your area, by emailing him at [email protected].


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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