When I was in high school, personal finance wasn’t something we were taught. Anything we knew about money, we learned from our parents. These days, there seems to be a greater focus on personal finance, but there’s still a long way to go. If your kids or the kids of your members don’t have the option for personal finance classes, here are three things they should be learning before they graduate…
It’s never too early to build good credit: You may not want to give your child a credit card and let them go nuts, but learning how to spend safely with a credit card is a great lesson for the future. Plus, it’ll help them build a decent credit score for when they graduate college and real life begins. Let them make one credit purchase every month (as long as they have a source of cash) and teach them the benefits of paying off the balance each month.
Budgeting is a never-ending battle: Budgeting is a lifelong antagonist. Sometimes you feel like you’re crushing your budget, and sometimes it feels like your budget is crushing you. Even if your kid only has a part-time job that pays a few hundred dollars a month, you can teach them about paying bills (maybe make them start paying for something like their phone or Xbox Live) and saving money. By teaching them while they’re dealing with small money and few bills, they’ll be ready when they become an adult and get that first real paycheck. And make sure they know that saving can’t be optional. You have to be consistent to see any real results.
You have to write things down: Just like going to the grocery store, if you don’t write down everything you need, you’re bound to forget something. The first items they can write on their lists are things like checking and savings accounts. If they want to go ahead and start planning for further down the line, you can add retirement accounts, life insurance, and finding a financial advisor to the list.