Monday, April 16, 2007

Teach your kids how to manage money during Youth Week!

Join us this year as we celebrate National Credit Union Youth Week from April 22-28 . Our theme for 2007 is "Stash Your Cash @ the Credit Union."

Teaching your children about money does not have to be a chore and you can get started early with some fun activities that will instill financial values in your child’s life. Our primary job as a parents is to prepare our children for how the world really works and in the real world, as most of us know, “you don't always get what you want”. Our kids will be easier to deal with as adults if they experience this fact of life during their childhood.

I usually try not to let guilt get in the way of parenting. My job as a parent is not to make myself feel good by giving my son everything that he wants. My job is to prepare him to succeed in school and when he gets out into the world.

A few things that we have tried are below.

Long-Term Savings Account. We set up an account at the credit union for his first car. Zach knows this money is there and that he has to put half of his allowance every week in to this account. This can also be an account for something else like college or another big item.

We also have a family 401K. We match a quarter to the dollar for Zach’s long-term savings.

We have also tried this approach for short term goal, but watch out, this one can get you in trouble. Last year in January Zach asked for Xbox 360 and we told him that if he could save half of the money that we would pay the other half. Before we knew it, he had saved almost $200. After looking at the price of Xbox and the price of the games $50-$60, we talked to him about this not being the smartest way to spend his money. After he thought it over he decided that it would not make sense to get Xbox yet. Had he not come to this conclusion we would have had a hard time not following through on purchasing Xbox, since Zach had reached is savings goal. What a relief that was!

Helping your children understand the value of money goes a long way in establishing a lifelong pattern of good money management. There are many lessons for our children to learn, and what and how we teach them about money can affect them throughout their lives.

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