Q: How do I help my kids become financially independent grown-ups?
A: Teaching your kids how to be financially independent will help smooth the transition into adulthood. It will also give them what they need to stay financially stable throughout life.
Here are some tips for raising kids to be financially independent adults.
Start with basic budgeting
Introduce your children to the concept of earning money and spending mindfully when they’re young, and build upon that as they grow up. Preteens can watch you work on an actual budget, and teens can even assist you in creating a budget for a large expense, like a family vacation. You can also help kids create a budget for how they plan to spend their own money.
Split the costs of “must-have” items
If your children are like most kids, they’re asking you for trending items they claim they must have; from a pair of designer jeans to the latest fad toy they insist everyone else already has.
A great compromise is to have your child pay half the cost of expensive trending items. They’ll likely quickly see that a “must-have” really isn’t when you’re footing half the bill.
Teach them about credit cards
If your child sees you using a credit or debit card often, teach them what’s behind that card. Show them your credit card bill when it arrives and talk about how you need to pay for all those expenses during the month, plus the possible interest. Teach them about debit cards, too, explaining how money is withdrawn from your checking account each time you swipe the card. You can also give older kids a quick rundown on credit scores, how they work and why they’re so important.
Talk openly about what they can expect in terms of support for the future
When your child is mature enough to talk about the future, discuss how much financial support you plan to offer while they attend college, immediately after graduation and into their adult years. Ask about their plans as well, paying attention to when they anticipate being financially independent.
You can bring up the topic of career paths, too. Help your child determine a basic budget for the lifestyle they plan to lead and assist them in narrowing down their career choices until they have just a few that will support their future life. Talk about student loans, too, and explain how crippling debt can be.
If you haven’t already, consider opening a Youth Savings Account for your child at High Point Federal Credit Union. This way they can get hands on experience with a financial account and understand the importance of putting money away. If they get an allowance, or are gifted money at some point, you can encourage them to put a certain percentage in their account. Stop by one of our branch locations, contact us, or call 800.854.6052 to discuss opening a Youth Savings Account.
Use the tips outlined above to help raise your child to be a financially independent adult.