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Financial focuses for youth

Let’s face it: Not many children want to talk about money, except for when they’re asking for more! Many adults dread these conversations just as much, but it’s important we start early on talking about the reality of money management.

That conversation has never been more important than now, when money is so “virtual.”

My daughter has known my PayPal password for years – albeit never purchasing anything without prior approval – and this is a prime example of money not being as tangible as it once was. Items are purchased regularly with no exchange of currency, most certainly no negotiating a check or even swiping a card.

So how do we make money real when we and our children are spending money we don’t even see? Here are a few ways to make money matters a topic of conversation:

1. Encourage your children to manage their own money. Open a student or young adult checking and savings account that you are on with them. This, first and foremost, gives them ownership. For your peace of mind, joint ownership allows you to put up some guard rails, allowing you to monitor their spending and keep them out of the gutters.

2. Make a habit of having them spend from their own money supply. Now that my daughter is a little older, when it comes time for those “wants” versus “needs,” I let her know ahead of time what I’ll be paying for and that anything extra is coming from her. Needless to say, our children are usually not quite as frivolous when they know their balance is the one taking the hit.

3. Be real. My Southern momma never beat around the bush with her yes or no when it came to spending. She was quick to let us know the reality of money and being a good steward of it. I find myself and other friends of my generation don’t tend to be as frank as the grownups in our younger years. So, this is a good muscle to work on strengthening.

4. Lastly, and this adds on to No. 3: Patience is a virtue. Living in this fast-paced world, it’s difficult to make ourselves wait for anything. However, delayed gratification helps teach the real value of money as well as self-discipline! We can teach our kids they can’t purchase everything they want all the time and teach ourselves to also avoid impulse purchases. Not only is it a sure-fire way to save, but we actually end up valuing what we’ve bought more. Plus, we get to have a sense of accomplishment to top it off.

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