Is your child ready to survive in the real world? The world of money, income and debt? Our households, cities, states and nations are drowning in debt because many adults never learned fiscal responsibility.
According to CreditCards.com in July 2011 the average credit card debt per household in the US was $15,799. Bloomberg.com tells us that in 2010 foreclosures rose 81%, topping 2.3 Million last year.
Children follow the example of what we do without regard to what we say. So when the government borrows 40 cents of every dollar it spends year after year – what do we expect our children to do? The national debt has been over one trillion dollars since 1981. Republicans, Democrats, progressives and conservatives, every administration has increased the debt. As of this writing the figure is rapidly approaching 15 trillion. We all have learned by example, our children will be no different.
What’s the point of all of this? In the times of greatest financial crises, the people who have zero debt and available money do VERY well. Winning in bad times does not take wealth, it takes ‘liquidity.’ Therefore it is up to parents and educators to make sure the future is brighter than the present, rather than darker.
So how do we go about teaching our young folk financial responsibility? It’s easy, and that’s the truth. Like anything else, when you start out learning the right way it is easy compared to trying to fix it after it’s gone awry. Today our kids are computer whizzes because they have grown up with them. Those that grow up understanding financial reality will be whizzes at that too.
Start your child out with an understanding of where money comes from. Work! Or perhaps a better way of stating it is: providing a service in exchange for payment. Small service to few – small reward. Small service to many – big reward. Large service to few – fair reward. Large service to many – great reward. In the day to day that translates into our youth earning things/money as opposed to having parents just supply them with it all.
I was taught early on to save 10%, tithe 10%, and then live on what’s left. Can you imagine the savings account you would have at retirement if you routinely saved 10% of every dollar you ever earned?
But telling your kids this stuff and teaching it to them are two very different things. A number of years ago Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad developed a terrific board game which actually teaches adults & children alike real life money principles. The game is called Cash Flow and is kind of pricey, but it is invaluable for what it does. Here’s a tip: you can get it on eBay for about half of the retail price.
Additionally there is now a free online resource from Kiyosaki with 4 separate money teaching games for kids from K2 through 12th grade and has available parent/teacher guides & tips. It is a truly terrific resource. You will find them at RichKidSmartKid.com.
For those who would like a program to get young children (up to age 8) started right at home, there is a great series called Financial Fairy Tales which is very effective.
No matter how you choose to do it, start now! Save your child from the money struggles they are sure to experience if they don’t learn how to manage their money and spending. You can boil everything you need to know about fiscal responsibility into one sentence: Live on less than you make.
Start them in the right direction now.