Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Have you talked to your children about the value of money and the importance of managing it wisely? All parents hope that their children will grow up to make prudent use of their money, yet a new study has found few parents actually spend time talking to their kids about how to accomplish this goal. According to the American Institute of CPAs, parents are more likely to have talked with their children about good manners, smart eating habits, the importance of good grades, the dangers of drugs and alcohol and the risks of smoking than about sensible spending. If you're not sure how to get started with your kids, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) has the following advice.
Even young children are able to understand what it means to build-or save, toward a goal, such as a toy or trip to an amusement park. Parents can help by encouraging their children to set aside money they receive for birthdays or holidays to save up for a special purchase. Older children can save money earned from afterschool or weekend jobs, and parents can give younger kids small jobs to help them earn money.
Make it fun
Help your children create colorful charts that monitor their progress or illustrate the chores they can do around the house to earn money. Suggest that your child draw a picture of what he or she is saving for, and use it to decorate the piggy bank or jar holding the savings.
Turn it into a family project
Talk to your children about the steps you take to save toward long-term goals or to cut down on your expenses. You can involve them by giving them a grocery list and asking them to find coupons for the items on it. Figure out how much the coupons have saved your family and "reward" your kids with a portion of the savings.
Understand their priorities
Long-term objectives, such as saving for college, likely won't mean as much to your children as more immediate goals, such as a new bike or a night out with friends. So, while it's a good idea to show them their college savings account statements and discuss how and why you contribute to their accounts, remember that they will get more excited about shorter-term rewards.
Dealing with financial issues is part of everyday life for adults, which means there are a lot of teachable moments available. Talk to your children about how you manage your money, including your efforts to save for short-term goals, like the family's annual vacation, and long-term objectives, like college or retirement. Point out some of the ways you save money each day, such as bringing a brown-bag lunch to work or carpooling with co-workers. This kind of dialogue helps introduce them to good habits that will last a lifetime.
Stand your ground
Of course, your children won't have much motivation to save if you buy them a toy whenever they ask or pull money out of your wallet whenever they want to meet friends for pizza. Although it can be hard to say no, keep in mind that by doing so, you are helping them to learn how to budget and about the value of delayed gratification.
Your certified public accountant (CPA) can help
To be a good role model for your child, it's a good idea to ensure that your own financial house is in order. That's where your local CPA can help. Turn to him or her with all your financial questions. Don't have a CPA? Visit mncpa.org/referral to locate one in your area. You can also visit the MNCPA website at mncpa.org for great personal financial planning advice and tips.
The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) serves the public interest by advancing the highest standards of ethics and practice within the CPA profession. MNCPA delivers on that promise by offering extensive continuing professional education and resources; advocating for members and the public with regulatory agencies and boards; and mentoring and encouraging the CPAs and business leaders of tomorrow. Founded in 1904, MNCPA has 9,400 members who work in public accounting, business and industry, government and education.