When we were children, our parents always seemed to be yelling about the most mundane things.
Eat your vegetables!
Make your bed!
Finish your homework!
Though we couldn’t understand at the time why they were determined to control our lives (or ruin them), as we’ve grown up we’ve realized the importance of these small habits. Our parents were just trying to make sure we were healthy and equipped to handle adulthood. But there was a major piece missing. Conversations about finances.
While talking to children about money can seem taboo, it’s never too early to start discussing the importance of saving. April 20 is Teach Children to Save Day and it’s a great opportunity to give your clients pointers on how they can talk to their kids about the importance of financial responsibility. The key to encouraging children to care comes down to three things: focus, frequency, and fun.
Saving is timeless, and it should remain a priority throughout the year, not just on a recognized day. However, keeping children focused can be a struggle in and of itself. Having a goal to concentrate on is necessary, whether it’s having enough money for a new pair of shoes or a video game, or a bigger goal like paying for college.
Regardless of the end goal, having small, attainable milestone goals, like hitting specific dollar amounts, is essential and can be extremely beneficial for children (and their short attention spans) to remain invested in saving. To ensure your clients keep their children interested, they could also offer them a “bonus” whenever they reach one of these milestones. Your clients could add an extra $10 to that week’s allowance.
Establishing a routine for saving can be advantageous to ensure it’s a habit that sticks. Whether it’s putting away money weekly or monthly, establishing a regular frequency is crucial for children to be able to be diligent and committed. Have your clients work with their children on setting up how their allowances will work, what they will have to do to earn it, and what dollar amount they should consistently put away.
The best way to learn for anyone is when a topic is enjoyable. Encourage your clients to be creative. A tried but true way that stresses the importance of saving is giving their kids an allowance for help around the home, but a twist on this for the digital age is to have them open a bank account. They can use the app for the bank and watch their money grow, as opposed to throwing quarters in a piggy bank. Your clients could also plan additional out of the box ways to earn extra money on top of their allowance so that it can be a memorable learning experience.
For children who are a little older, your clients could even explain how the stock market works, and invest a bit of that saved allowance money in stocks or funds that interest them. This could be a beneficial way to introduce them to what can be complicated subject matter.
Many a millennial have complained how they will never forget learning in school that the Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, but that they don’t understand how to do their taxes or how a mortgage works. Teaching your children the importance of saving at early age instead of yelling at them to go to sleep could pay dividends in the long run.
Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.
Michael Lynch is a registered representative of Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC.
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