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What will you say when it comes time to talk to your kids about money and their future? Children today need to learn more about money than the previous generation because the economic climate has taken such a hard hit and the job market isn’t what it used to be. You need to layout the details for your child so that they don’t make major financial mistakes the minute they leave your home.
1. Be realistic about job opportunities. Children in school are told that they are each special and that they can be whatever they want to be. To be fair, that can happen, but it may involve living in poverty. Help your child find a career path that involves her or her skills, but has some potential for a successful career.
2. What kind of support do you offer? Are you paying for college? Many parents today can’t afford to pay for college and realistically there are plenty of grants and scholarships out there. Encourage your child to avoid student loans. You can let him or her stay with you or help them arrange for suitable housing and a part-time job. You might even discuss work-study options. Kids who have a part in paying for their college education tend to appreciate it more and take it more seriously than those who don’t.
3. What are the limits? If your child has to stay with you while in college or even after college, there needs to be some limits set. In today’s economic climate, it’s no surprise when college students have to move back home long enough to get on their feet, but they need to have responsibilities and goals. How long can they stay? Do they need to pay rent?
4. Encourage frugal living. You can show the benefits of frugal living by limiting your own interests in material purchases. Success doesn’t have to be measured in square footage. In fact, more and more people are looking to Tiny House living in order to save money and enjoy life in a more substantial way. Renting isn’t always the answer either because they are just lining someone else’s pocket.
5. Make wise credit decisions. Realistically you are better off not to make payments on something because you always face the chance of losing it. However, today credit is the name of the game and even potential employers are interested in credit reports. That doesn’t mean they should buy a car on payments, but they might open other credit accounts like a gas debit card or an emergency credit card, always making sure to carry a very small balance on the cards and make the payments on time.
6. Retirement planning starts as soon as you join the workforce. The retirement age is getting older and the value of the dollar is getting smaller and smaller. If they start planning for retirement now, putting that money away will become a lifelong habit.