9 Ways to Give Your Child a Happier Life By Making Them Financially Savvier

There are two gifts that you can give your child as they grow. One, is the gift of positivity and belief in themselves. The other is the gift of savvy.

As parents, we constantly worry about what our children will be like when they grow up. Will they be kind and generous? Will they be successful? Or will they struggle with themselves and their money, the way so many of us do?

When they grow up, if they don’t have that solid financial footing, they could end up suffering more than just money trouble. Without a solid actionable personal finance background, their quality of life could be lower than average because they’ll constantly struggle to repay debt, to find a way to provide for their family, or worse, they may not even be able to establish a family.

The poor state of mind that comes with owing money, feeling like you’ll never climb out of debt, and the feeling that you’ll never be able to provide for those that would depend on you, can leave you feeling stuck and unworthy of taking on that wonderful adventure of building a family.

Enter poor self-esteem and bigger debt.

But your child’s life doesn’t have to turn out so down-trodden. Teaching them to use tools like a strong sense of savvy and self-fulfillment can have a profound impact on their views and abilities later in life.

Use these tips to help your child actualize your dreams and goals for their financial and psychological well-being.

1. Display the behavior. Be the role model that you want your child to emulate. If you want them to be positive, you have to show them what positive looks like. Show them what being financially responsible means through your actions.

1. Show them the benefits. This won’t always be easy. In fact, unless you think like a child, it will be difficult to always make them see that they are getting a benefit from changing their thinking or tucking away money instead of spending it on whatever they want, when they want it.

1. Keep the discussion upbeat. Related to number one a bit, but worth repeating. Always keep your conversation about money light. If they ask for something, don’t get mad because you can’t provide it. Get happy at a chance to teach them the whys of why you can’t get it right now, then give them a way to work toward it and track that goal.

1. Keep them involved in the discussion. When you hold those “upbeat” conversations with your spouse, let your child listen in. If they are old enough, let them participate. Jumpstart.org reported that 93% of teens are not involved with household discussions about paying bills or managing the budget. And only 46% said they knew how to budget. Involvement is the key to education and action later in life.

1. Allow them to earn. There’s debate on whether or not kids should be allowed to earn an allowance. Forbes magazine says it’s a go. And we at Happier agree. It gives them a chance to learn the ins and outs of their own finances and the value of their own money. But setting up an allowance isn’t the end of the education. You have to follow through with the talk about why they are earning and what they should do with it.

1. Teach them to split their earnings. Don’t just hand them the cash. Hand them the cash, then walk them through calculating the percentages that should go to long-term savings, short-term savings, and charity…and what’s left for them to spend. Don’t forget to remind them that doesn’t mean that have to spend it.

1. Teach them how to use online banking software. While many parents still take their kids to the bank, many more are banking online and it’s very important to teach them how to manage their own finances that way. Note: Please don’t forget to stress safety issues when you’re dealing with money online.

1. Play money games like Monopoly, Monopoly Jr, or even Sim City or World of Warcraft. Interject your own thoughts on why you’re making the decisions to buy lands or armor or weapons while you play. Let them “hear your thoughts” while you reason aloud.

1. Create your own budgets and stick to them. Help them create their own. After all, they are earning their own living these days, help them figure out what to do with it.

Which of these nine things are you already doing to give your child a happier, savvier financial footing? Which ones will you adopt today?
Julian Hearn, is a blogger for the Happier community – where shopping and saving are social events.

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