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If you’re like most Americans, you don’t save enough. America Saves Week aims to correct that, but it’s a lot easier to save if you got into the habit while young.
If you didn’t learn to save until it was too late (or never learned at all!) then do your kids the favor of instilling this good habit in them while they’re young. Think about how much more secure you’d feel if you have begun saving when you were their age.
Be a positive model
Your kids learn a lot more by watching you than you realize. Recognize that, and bring them into your financial life.
There are lots of ways you can use everyday activities to teach sound financial lessons:
- Involve them in shopping, and teach them to comparison shop, take advantage of sales, use coupons, etc.
- Teach them banking; show them how you balance your checkbook or account register, and establish a custodial account for their savings
- If you use credit cards in front of your kids, explain fully what that means, that the purchase is a loan that must be paid back with interest
Develop good habits
Encourage your kids to develop good habits early and be consistent. You already having them brushing their teeth and going to bed on time. Now add good financial habits to the mix:
- Have them save 20% of all income that comes in, no matter the source; if they don’t have a bank account yet, set up a piggy bank
- Tie their allowance to chores; get kids to understand that income is earned, not given
- Encourage them to have a plan for how they’ll spend their money; teach them to set financial goals and write them down
Communicate about money
Personal finances shouldn’t be a taboo subject in your household. Talk to your kids openly and always reinforce the good habits of saving and financial responsibility you’re trying to instill:
- Be honest. You’ve made a lot of money mistakes, as have we all. Tell your kids the truth and let them learn from your missteps
- Encourage your kids to examine their values. If they want to donate money to worthy charities, then explain how saving money makes them more financially secure and will enable them to contribute more to what’s truly important
- Check out our free “Raising a Money Smart Child” workbook from our downloads page. Use it and other free financial resources you find online to come up with ways to have a productive conversation with your kids about money
As your kids get older, it gets tougher to influence their behavior in a positive way. Start young so they build the resilience they need to avoid being drawn into overspending. Advertising and peer pressure are everywhere, so teaching financial responsibility is essential, even to very young children.
When you pledge to save this year for America Saves Week, have your kids take the pledge too. Your children will always be the generation that grew up during the COVID-19 pandemic, so help them take something positive away from this tough experience—the future is uncertain, and saving money is crucial to being prepared for whatever comes next.
America Saves Week
America Saves Week full recap:
America Saves Week is almost over, but that shouldn’t change your savings habits!
Join us today at 10am (PST) for our last America Saves Week Webinar:
Friday, February 26th | Save as a Family: America Saves Week
- This seminar will show families how to communicate about money matters, offer money and budget saving tips to help develop a spending plan for their future goals and provide children with the necessary basic financial skills as early as possible. Help your children understand the importance of how to Save, Spend, and Share. It’s never too early to develop good saving and spending habits!
- Duration: 1hr
- Sign up for this webinar
If you’re unable to make it and want to learn how to save money and get out of debt, Credit.org has resources and financial coaches to help you reach your goals. America Saves Week may be coming to an end, but don’t let that stop you from saving.