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Marion Syversen Marion Syversen
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Slew of resolutions

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Slew of resolutions Slew of resolutions

With each New Year comes a slew of resolutions, all of them worthy and noble. One that I hope you will add (if it's not already on your list) is teaching your kidlets about money.

Teaching kids about money, teaching them to save and how to do basic budgets or spending plans, is an awesome goal. In doing this you may also help yourself. You may not feel very capable in this field and may feel uncertain about your qualifications to help the little - or big - ones. But as you break down various methods to manage allowances and gift money, as you answer questions from rascally children and their bright and inquiring minds, you will learn a lot yourself. Here are some tips for your family.

Tell them that you save-and why 

Sometimes information in our head seems as if it should be obvious to others since it is so apparent to us. But your kids probably don't know that you save, or for all the purposes that you may save: short-term savings for a special event like this summer's vacation, more long-ish-term for a very special event and long-term for college or even retirement. 

Whatever their ages, now is the time to begin to tell the kids about what goes on behind the scenes of grown-up life. Let them know that you save and why you save. Tell them the happy feeling you have when, because you planned, you have the money you need for this special goal. Tell them the coziness spending a little less than what you earn brings to your soul because you know tomorrow, the future goal, will bring a happy day. Or, tell them this money stuff has been a real struggle and you are learning about it just like they are learning.

Teach self-control 

Here's a scenario: let's say every single time you enter a shop you buy your child something, a special treat, a toy, a magazine or game. What lesson is the child learning? Money is not any hindrance to my instant material gratification. This will not bode well for any of you, and it surely will not be the way to happiness. 

I know how wonderful it is to bless your kids, the joy that their adorable smile brings to your parental heart. But you have to demonstrate self-control if you ever hope to teach your children good lessons about life or money and truthful lessons concerning savings.

Make it fun 

Conversations about finance bless my heart! I love this topic. But I have heard that others are not as happy to discuss it. So, for the rest of you all that need help coming up with ways to make these lessons fun, look for finance comic books or children's stories, cool piggy banks and books. 

Something I learned about in preparing this is a book called 'It's a Habit, Sammy Rabbit.' The author says you know your child is ready to learn about money if you put a coin and a dollar in front of them and they choose the dollar. Check out the series at http://www.itsahabit.com/.

Different ages 

You know that all kids learn differently and that you need different information at different ages. It's the same with financial literacy. Little ones have a different concept of time, so saving for college is many, many miles away for them and very difficult for them to grasp. But saving for a ball is within reach. 

And as children grow, it's a good idea to begin telling them more about your family's finances. Such information is a helpful transition to living on their own. Allowing teens more latitude with money decisions gives them the liberty to fail while they still enjoy the protection of the family and before they make critical miscalculations as independent adults.

Teaching kids to save is a great goal for the New Year, and I hope these tips help get you started!

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