By Jeff Eusebio The biggest money lesson I am passing along to my kids is how I act on a daily basis.
This thought used to strike a bit of terror in me, especially when I saw how some of my kids’ money habits were turning out. They were watching and listening and forming their own habits unconsciously by what they were seeing me do every day. If I would impulsively purchase something because a deal was “too amazing to pass up” (and I love a good deal!), I would start to see that infectious and impulsive behavior come out in some of them. They look where I look, they act how I act, they save how I save, and they buy how I buy.
Some recent reader comments we’ve received have been along the lines of “my kids are too young to learn about money management... they really don't have an interest yet... maybe when they are older”. The reality is it’s hardest to start when they are older. Wait until they are teens and most of their money habits will already be formed. It’s possible to change these habits of course, but it requires an even higher level of discipline, consistency, and planning on behalf of the parent or teacher. If they are old enough to count, they are old enough to start learning the basics.
FamilyMint helped me as a parent to be that good example for my kids. The FamilyMint app became a third party resource that helped me teach my kids the basics by forming new daily habits. With goal setting being front and center, my kids were quickly creating new goals and saving for them rather than asking me if they could have it "now". It was instantly able to help them save along the way using the Matching feature to match deposits “dollar for dollar”, $.50 on the dollar, or any variation I'd like. The whining about “I want this, and I need that” also stopped right away once I redirected them to start setting and working toward their own goals.
Setting and working to achieve financial goals also inherently teaches the concepts of delayed gratification, prioritization, and self-confidence once the goals are reached. Make this the natural way that your kids manage their money and goals on a daily basis and so much will take care of itself.
Another amazing thing happened; the more I focused on forming these good behaviors and habits in my kids, the more I started to take them on as my own habits and behaviors. There are so many easy lessons that can be taught when kids are just old enough to count -- and both kids and parents will benefit.
The good news is those scary habits that I mentioned earlier are almost gone now from my kids. Part of it is changing how they think about their own money by the habitual processes built into FamilyMint, but a good dose of it was me picking up these habits myself and making them my own.