Raising Financially Fit Kids

Are you teaching your kids to be financially fit?

Raising money-wise kids is about more than providing for them—it's also about teaching them financial independence. Answer these eight questions to see if you're on track. You'll also get ideas for incorporating financial lessons into everyday life—whether it's making a simple trip to the grocery store or planning for college.

1. You’re planning to get a car for your 16-year-old. You:

  • Lease a brand-new car for your teen.
  • Give your teen your old car and buy a new, fuel-efficient car for yourself.
  • Buy your teen a practical car after carefully researching the market together.
  • Help pay for a used car after discussing how your teen will pay for insurance, gas and maintenance.
 

2. Your 15-year-old gets a summer job. You:

  • Get your teen to start saving now, explain the tax implications of a paycheck, and help them with their year-end taxes.
  • Watch him or her buy a flashy new cell phone and spend money at the mall.
  • Have your teen turn the money over to you and deposit it into a savings account.
  • Encourage your teen to open a checking account and set up a savings plan with direct deposit.
 

3. You decide to set up an investment account for your 12-year-old. You:

  • Pick the best securities yourself after careful research.
  • Ask your child which companies or industries might be fun to own, and invest in a couple of his or her picks.
  • Put all the money into a single hot stock.
  • Do some research together and jointly decide what to buy.
 

4. Your first-born is heading off to college. You:

  • Develop a budget together and figure out how to cover expenses using any combination of loans, savings, and income from a part-time job.
  • Have your teen get a part-time job or student loan to help pay part of the costs.
  • Hope for the best.
  • Pay for his or her education yourself in full and provide an allowance.
 

5. It’s April, and you’ve just filed your tax return. You:

  • Pay the taxes on time without any family discussion.
  • Use the occasion to talk about the impact of taxes on family finances.
  • Choose a charitable organization as a family and make a donation with part of the refund.
  • Complain that it’s tax season again.
 

6. You’re at the grocery store with your two middle-school children. You:

  • Cave in to their requests for snacks and sodas in order to keep the peace.
  • Bring a shopping list and stick to it.
  • Use the trip as a way to teach them to comparison shop.
  • Give each child $25 to purchase the ingredients for a family dinner.
 

7. You’ve just made an offer on a new house and your teen asks, “How are we going to pay for it?” You:

  • Talk about how the housing market works, including the pros and cons of different types of mortgages.
  • Explain the concept of a mortgage.
  • Tell your teen that you will take care of that.
  • Say you’re hoping to win the lottery.
 

8. From your teen’s perspective, a credit card is:

  • A foreign concept. Cash only.
  • OK, as long as the balance is paid on time each month.
  • A useful tool, if used wisely and paid off each month.
  • A limitless source of money.




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