One of the goals for any parents is to be able to raise financially independent children. It might seem a lot easier nowadays with the advent of technology. Information is literally right at their fingertips. Children nowadays rely on the internet for most of life’s “how-to’s?” They are quick to open up a browser in their laptop or ask Siri about a topic they do not know.
This is certainly an advantage over parents who had to learn everything from the library or from their parents. Older parents did not have the luxury of getting food delivered or even shopping online much more information about topics they did not know about. They had to physically walk up to a library or even borrow a book from their neighbors.
However, there is also a downside to having all the answers readily available. Children nowadays tend to believe the first thing they see or hear as gospel truth. This makes it all the more important for parents to have the ability to screen their children’s access to technology. Raising financially independent children is a delicate balance between letting them learn new things and being on guard with harmful information.
Parents also need to make sure that their approach with their kids is not detrimental to their goal. They might have their heart in the right place but ends up teaching their children the opposite of financial independence. Here are a few things parents need to keep in check if they want to be a beacon of good financial example to their children.
Is it really for them?
One of the factors you need to consider when trying to raise financially independent children is internalizing your expenses. You have to be ruthlessly realistic with the purchases you make. If your children come up to you asking for a new bike because the neighbor’s kid has a new one, you need to talk to them. The last thing you need to do is go out and buy a new one. This gives your children the wrong impression and believes they always have to compete with other people.
If they have an old bike, you can help you, children, fix it. Not only will it come out less expensive, but it also teaches them the value of recycling and using what they have. They do not have to go out and buy new things if what they have still worked. This can keep them grounded and develop the habit of making the most of what they have.
Push them to get a summer or part-time job
This is one of the best ways to help raise financially independent children because the experience teaches them so much. For one, let them look for and apply on their own so they get a feel of how to do it all by themselves. There is a big chance they will be rejected and it will not only keep them grounded but build up their resiliency as well.
Once they get a job, they learn how to manage responsibilities well outside school work. This helps them connect and understand that to earn money, they need to work for it. Once they get their pay, children also learn how to manage money well. They could be taking on a job to save up for a purchase and this teaches them to save and use their money wisely.
Unless they get to work as a social media coordinator, part-time work also gives children time away from social media. There are a lot of temptations when you look into profiles of friends and families. From travels to new gadgets, people use social media as a platform to share. However, there could be times where children might feel they also need to travel or buy an item. A break from social media can help them identify their wants from their needs.
Do not compensate with your wallets
One way to raise financially independent children is to show that money does not solve everything. Parents should not trade quality time with a new gaming console or even by buying them an app they want. It is the same as teaching them that an effective way to solve a problem is to throw down some money on it.
If they broke your neighbor’s flower pot, let them clean it up. They can also offer to do yard work for your neighbor in exchange for what they broke. If they are nearing a deadline for a science project and they have nothing to show for it because they kept playing games, do not buy them a project. Help them work on their project so they learn that the only way to get it done is to work on it and not buy their way out.
Also, parents need to be a great example of this. If you were not able to make in time for their play or game, do not offer to buy them something in return. This teaches them that money can make up for what they were not able to do. You can make up for it by spending time with them over the weekend or camping out in the backyard looking at the stars and roasting marshmallows on a stick.
Encourage them to make mistakes
This might not sound like good parenting but it can actually help you raise financially independent children. Your children will makes mistakes, a lot of them. Rather than teaching them to be ashamed of it, help them understand the positive side to it. For one, no one is perfect and as such, everybody makes mistakes. This also forms part of what US News shares as teaching independence by giving them freedom.
The most important aspect of this is that they learn from their own mistakes. They need to understand why they made it and remember the consequences. Doing so helps them avoid doing the same thing in the future. If they are able to process this, mistakes make them stronger, more resilient, and smarter as they grow up.
Include them in budget planning for family affairs
As you urge them to make mistakes to learn, it is also a good complement to ask them to have an active part in managing the family’s finances. It does not mean that they get to decide whether to pay the mortgage or not. You can start them small asking for their inputs on how to improve your current household budget.
Ask them how the family can save money at home or even how to make earn a few extra dollars a month. Maybe they can help identify and sell things you no longer online. Parents can also ask their children to be more conscious of how they use water and lights at home. This gives them a direct hand in managing the family’s budget. It serves as a great training ground for when they grow up and would have to manage their own finances.
It might seem to be a difficult task to raise financially independent children but there are ways to help guide your children into financial independence. You just have to take time to nurture them and show them the way. It will also benefit you in the long run because they will be able to manage their money on their own. They will not be relying on you and putting your retirement fund at risk.