Your new baby has arrived. The joy you feel for this little one is immense. You can already see them taking their first steps, learning to ride a bike, and graduating from high school. While it’s hard to think about as you hold them in your arms, they will be heading off to school in an instant.
My job and yours are to set them up for success. What better way to do that than teaching them about money? What it is, how it works and how they can use it in their everyday lives. We’re partnering with Future Scholar, South Carolina’s 529 college savings plan, to help you start teaching them about money now. Resources include talking to young children about money, planning tools, and age-appropriate ways for them to have pride and ownership in making smart money decisions.
Managing money is a life skill
Should I be teaching my kids how to manage money at such a young age? 100% YES!
In school, you learn so many things that can help you become an amazing human. I can’t think of a more important life skill than knowing how to manage your money. It touches every part of your child’s life, so why not make sure they are comfortable knowing how to use it, spend it and save it to reach their own life goals.
When both of my kids were born, they received multiple piggy banks from doting grandparents. I thought of these gifts as cute ways to decorate their nurseries, but these piggy banks have become so much more.
From birthday gifts to helping neighbors with small projects and doing household chores, my kids run to put money in their banks! It’s a great way for them to experience a sense of accomplishment. When they want something, it also offers my family a chance to talk about the values we hold as it relates to needs vs. wants. If your kids are still little, this article, Five ways to talk money with children aged 5 and under is a wonderful resource to get the conversation started.
Stories make it fun
Books are the perfect way for young children to understand complex concepts. They can see themselves in the story, which helps solidify their understanding of what is going on around them. Since adults are usually the ones spending the money, books can show a child why money is important, how to save it and how to use it responsibly. This is a great resource to find books for your kids is the Future Scholar Reading List.
Create a goal
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get excited watching themselves get close to achieving a goal. It is a tremendous accomplishment! In our house, we like to set small, attainable money goals with our kids, so they can experience pride in their hard work.
Always start simple. As they grow, include an incentive like a toy or ice cream to keep them engaged and excited. As you are thinking about saving for college check out some of these common questions to help determine the best goals for your family to set.
Make it tangible
Let kids pay for what they want! If they’ve saved it, they should be the ones to spend it. It’s great for kids to have the tangible experience of going to the store and perusing the isles. Then they get to count their money, hand it to the cashier, receive change and get what they have been saving for. Having familiarity and a general understanding of how money works will give children the experience and confidence to make other decisions as they grow.
If you haven’t done so already, here are five reasons to consider opening a SC 529 plan today. Make saving for the future part of your family plan and your family’s goals. Include your kids in the process!
When the time comes to talk about big decisions, kids will understand the importance of their financial choices, they will have confidence in the experiences they’ve had, and they will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment for the work the whole family has put in to get them an excellent education.
Check out our other articles from Future Scholar:
Saving For the Future With Help From South Carolina
Back to School = Planning for Your Child’s Educational Future