As a parent, have you ever thought about how you developed the current financial strategies that come natural to you? The majority of adults have not. Thus, many people find themselves living in a cycle of bad financial habits that lead to an undesirable lifestyle.
I can personally attest. Growing up, I remember hearing people tell me to graduate high school, go to college, and get a good paying job. So, that’s exactly what I did! I graduated high school, went to college, and got a decent paying job. Everything seemed like it was going well until I moved out on my own and began to build a future for myself. That’s when the real world began to set in. As bills began to come in and I found myself living from paycheck to paycheck, I became dissatisfied with my lifestyle. I felt stuck and didn’t know how I was going to get out of the rut.
It was at that point in my life that I realized I was not taught a lot of basic financial information when I was younger. I don’t remember learning how to balance a checkbook, how to handle debt, how to save money, how to build your credit, how to buy a house or how to invest my money properly. These were all things I had to learn through trial and error.
Looking back, I realize most of the financial education I was taught as a child was subconsciously taught by looking at the people around me. I also realized there was a problem. Many of my peers and people around me were facing the same reality as myself.
With many states not requiring students to take some form of financial education before graduating high school, there is a great need for financial education in households. Many parents often place the blame on the school systems as to why kids don’t know how to manage money, but the truth is financial education starts at home. It is a way of life. Even if you are like me and didn’t have the best financial education growing up, you can still make sure you give your children the best financial education possible.
The first step to making sure your children are financially successful is to decide to become a “financial parent.” A financial parent is one who decides to intentionally invest time in making sure their children have the best financial future by teaching them financial education and actively preparing them for adulthood.
After making the decision to become a “financial parent,” the next step is to analyze your own financial upbringing. Are you making healthy financial choices? Are there some things you need to change about yourself? Remember your children will be modeling you.
If you are not where you want to be financially, you should not let that discourage you from teaching your children. The goal is not that you have to be perfect to start teaching, but you should have a “willing attitude.” For example, showing your child how you are working on your credit by making timely payments every month on your credit card is nothing to be ashamed of. It should be thought of as a teachable moment. Your mindset makes the difference.
If there were things you learned as a child that have helped you in your finances, you should continue to practice those habits and pass them along to your children. For those who have limited time and don’t know how to start the conversation with their children, becoming a financial parent can seem overwhelming. As your accountability partner, I am here to help you.
As parents, we must lead our children from the front. Financial illiteracy is no longer a blame game. Your children were designed for greatness not a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. We must do our part as parents to help our children grow up under more favorable financial conditions.