How to Teach Kids About Money

Teaching Children About Personal Finances

First Published: February 16, 2010

When it comes to teaching children about money and personal finances, we all seem to tumble and often it seems like a taboo. Here are some ideas that will help you teach your kids how to become financially responsible and successful in their adult lives.

You should start teaching your children the value of money at a young age. Explain to them the difference between needs and wants and tell them that money does not grow on trees. Money comes from hard work and each of us has responsibilities to our family, community, and the world.

Do not pay kids a straight allowance without guiding them towards what to do with it properly. When you give them an allowance, break it down into categories such as 10% or 15% should go to their savings account, and what other percentages that should be spent to pay for their books, activities, lunch, and so on.

Do not pay kids to do regular household chores that they would normally do. Explain to them what regular chores they are required to do and what chores can be considered special projects they can get paid for – if they are able to complete it successfully. These chores are outside regular ones and you would hire someone else to do it normally. Examples are: mowing the lawn, cleaning the backyard, and so on.

Once kids have a fair idea of what money is, start teaching them how a bank works, what a credit card is and why it charges interest, what a budget is and why it is important. The age range to discuss this would be 7 – 10.

Once kids start earning money, ask them to save 15 – 20 %. Explain to them that it is very important to spend less than what they earn and to save 15 – 20% continuously as they continue working into their adulthood. If they can follow this simple rule, they will be very rich one day.

It’s a very good idea to encourage kids to pursue entrepreneurial and marketable skills. Discuss with your kids what it means to be an entrepreneur and encourage them to use their creativity to find money making ideas or to open a business kids can operate in the surrounding neighbourhoods. Also, explain to them how some skills can pay off for their lifetime and it is worth learning these skills at an early age. Examples are: writing stories, setting up online blog and make money from it, learning graphics designing, learning how to repair a bike, learning how to paint, how to fix a computer, and so on. Don’t pressure kids to learn what you think will be in demand; rather, let them find the stuff they are interested in and wanting to learn.

Explain to your kids that education is very important. Even if they start making tons of money with their business or entrepreneurial skills, it is important to have a 4-year degree. Encourage them to pay their tuition with their own money – as much as possible. This will make them understand the value of each dollar and will teach them to appreciate what they have.

Giving is very important. Teach kids the joy of giving. Explain to them that we live on a small planet called “Earth” and not everyone is as fortunate as we are. We all can help those who need it most by donating, participating in voluntary works, helping charity organizations, and opening ourselves to build a better world.

Teaching kids about money is one of the best things you can ever give to your kids. It will build a solid financial roadmap for them to follow and will help them to secure a better financial future for their lifetime.

Ten Timeless Personal Finance Tips By Financial Author Ahmed Dawn

Ten Timeless Tips For Financial Success

First Published: December 1, 2009

The financial crisis is making a lot of people realize that they don’t know how to manage money.  Unfortunately, this is not taught in our schools, but Canada’s Personal Finance Blog – A Dawn Journal is here to help you. This article will teach you all the basics you need to become financially successful. Visit A Dawn Journal regularly for more articles like this.

1. Spend less than you earn. If this is something you can’t do, make arrangements to bump up your income by taking a part-time or an additional job. This number one tip is the most important, timeless financial tip ever. If you can’t do it, all or any other financial tips will be meaningless.

2. Track your spending. I don’t believe that a dollar-for-dollar budget works. However, you should have a rough idea of how much you spend on certain categories. Keep track all of your expenses and adjust necessarily among various categories, i.e., if you see you are spending too much on entertainment, take steps to reduce your expenses. At the end of the day, your expenditures have to be lower than (as mentioned in point 1) your earnings. Use free personal finance software to keep track of your expenses.

3. Pay yourself first. Set aside at least 5-15% (do 5% if you have loans, do more than 5% if you don’t have loans, credit card balances etc) of your gross income into your investment account, savings account, RRSP, TFSA or so on every month. Set up an automatic plan to do it regularly.

4. Have an emergency fund. Have six months’ worth of living expenses in a high interest savings account for emergencies.

5. Set goals. Know exactly when you want to pay off your loan, buy a car, buy a house, and when you want to retire.

6. Pay your credit card balances in full every month. If you already have credit card debt, pay it off first. Credit cards charge the most interest. It is a good idea to pay off credit card balances with a line of credit account, which charges half the interest.

7. Try to avoid buying a car. If you still need to buy, buy a used car. A new car depreciates about 35% the moment you drive it off the lot.

8. Pack your lunch. If you eat out every day, your approximate cost would be as below:

Weekly Cost = $10 * 5 = $50

Monthly Cost = $50 * 4 = $200

Yearly Cost = $200 * 12 = $2,400

$2,400 annually is a lot of money. If you are in a 42 % tax bracket, for example, you keep 58% of each additional dollar you earn. When you consider all the taxes and costs associated with earning that after-tax $2,400, saving $2,400 annually means actually saving $4,000 in pre-tax savings (all figures are approximate). Let’s put it another way – if you can brown bag your lunch, think of it as you are giving yourself a $4,000 raise annually.

If you can’t pack every day, pack at least two to three times a week.

9. Start investing. Investment is nothing but a discipline; it has to be orchestrated with great passion and care. Investment is not like going to the shopping mall and buying a few things impulsively. Start investing for the long run, and keep adding money every month or every week. Stay invested for the long run-through good times and bad, through market ups and downs. If you don’t know how to start investing, I recommend reading Invest Now. Anyone can become a successful investor by following three simple and practical steps mentioned in this book. If you are not comfortable investing on your own, seek professional help. I recommend fee-only financial advisors.

10. Review your progress at least once a year. If you are not satisfied with achieving your financial goal, change or modify your financial roadmap. If you are not sure what actions to take, consult a fee-only financial planner.

Discipline Is Still Needed For Financial Success

Discipline and Money Management 

Many things have changed, but the basics of making money remain the same. Discipline is a skill you will need to create wealth and become successful financially. Winning the lottery or being born as a billionaire Saudi princess will not happen to most of the general population. And it even does not come to a percentage - when you look at people who are rich that way. So hoping for an unrealistic way to become wealthy will not do any good and that sort of thought should be avoided in the first place.

It is not hard to achieve your financial dreams. You only need to know a few simple, basic rules. And following those rules with discipline will make you accomplish your goals. Many personal finance websites are packed with these basics to explore for free. You only need the willingness to learn and apply towards reaching your financial goals - and you need discipline to accomplish that along the way.

If you are reading this article right now, it is highly likely that you already have a decent paying job or entrepreneurship. If you don’t, you will soon have it because you are a smart and educated person, and that’s what lead you to this website in the first place. Discipline can make the difference between two identical same level money earning individuals reaching financial goals and never reaching financial goals.

Let’s look at two imaginary individuals A and B. Both have good paying jobs. Both live in the same city. A spends all his money eating out at restaurants, taking expensive vacations on credit cards, buying the latest electronic gadgets, and living in expensive houses he can’t afford. He has lots of credit card balances and never disciplines himself to set aside money for the future. His logic is that life is too short not to enjoy - and he wont be able to enjoy these once he is old. So let’s enjoy as much possible right now and forget about the future.

Author/Copyright: Ahmed Dawn

B takes a different approach to life. He thinks life is too short to work for someone else - and he does not want to spend all his life working for a corporation only to pay off his credit card bills and things he would not have enjoyed in the first place. He aims to end working for someone else and wants to live on his own terms as early as possible - while he is still young. He disciplines himself saving and investing every penny he can get and so far he is doing pretty good. He was inspired after reading a few articles and books by financial author A. Dawn and reading more financial books and articles to enhance his personal finance knowledge since then. His favourite one is this: Ten Timeless Personal Finance Tip.

The obvious difference between A and B is that A will still have to work to pay of his credit cards bill when he will be required to get hip replacement surgery. A failed to realise that to enjoy his life now, he chose to work all his life to pay off his bills. He will never be free from his debts and will die one day working and worrying paying off his bills. B will accumulate enough savings early enough to retire and enjoy his life without working for someone else and without worrying about paying off his debts. He only needed the willingness to learn and the discipline to apply what he learned.

It is still not too late or early, regardless how old you are, to decide whether you would like to be A or B. I have chosen to be B and I have many tools to offer to help you reach your goals for free. Feel free to browse all my websites listed on the right panel of this page. And don’t forget - discipline cannot be replaced by anything else and has no substitute.

5 Money Tips for Financial Success

Five Personal Finance Tips You Need to Know Right Now 

In order to become financially successful, you don’t need to spend year after year pursuing an MBA. Doing simple things consistently and religiously year after year can lead to the path of financial success. Today, I will describe 5 such things. 

Spend Less Than You Earn
 – Stick to spending less than your income, and financial success will come to you. This is the most important financial tip ever. If you can’t do this, doing everything else will be meaningless. 

Pay Yourself First
 – Depending on your ability, save 5 – 15 percent of your gross income into an investment account, mutual funds, registered account, etc. Stick to this plan as long as you can afford to.

Build An Emergency Fund – Set aside six months’ (or more) worth of living expenses in a savings account or in an investment that is comparatively safe and can be withdrawn in a short notice without paying any penalty. 
Set Goals - Know exactly when you would like to accomplish various goals throughout your life such as buying a house, paying off mortgage, retiring in the future, and so on. Take necessary steps to realise these goals. 

Review Progress
 – Review your progress at least once a year. If you are not on the right track towards achieving your goals, change and readjust your financial roadmap. Consult a fee-based financial professional if necessary. If you don’t have the knowledge to invest by yourself, seek professional help. I recommend fee-only financial professionals.

Personal Finance and Kids

Kids Need to be Taught About Money

First Published: June 23, 2009

The Alberta Finance Minister has said that both parents and the government need to take a firm hand in teaching kids how to be financially responsible now and in the future. With the current global financial situation having some bad news for everyone, even among the growing number of positive signs, it is now viewed as absolutely essential that sound financial planning is given the emphasis it requires at all levels, rather than leaving children to find out about the intricacies of the subject first-hand when they leave college and start looking for work. The minister, Iris Evans, said that her own children – all of whom are now grown up – have succeeded in life because she made sure to teach them about money.

Although not everyone would agree with the entirety of the Minister’s speech – which made great play of the importance of each family having at least one stay-at-home parent – the message of teaching children about money and how to handle it is one that will surely recur as we work to get out of the troubled financial climate of the present. At least some of the problems that the world is currently dealing with have something to do with irresponsible consumer borrowing and spending, and if good habits are locked in at an early stage then there is all the more chance that financial crises like the present one will be rarer and shallower in future. What the government may do remains to be seen, but there are plenty of things that a parent can do to instill the right habits in their offspring.

Savings accounts are something that will often be encouraged for the very youngest kids, but when they get to around the early teens the interest seems to drop off quite considerably. Finding a way to encourage your teenage child to save and pay close attention to the value of money is not difficult. All that one needs to do in the present climate to make one’s children pay heed to the importance of sensible financial practices is watch the news with them. As banks, businesses and other organizations battle the ill-effects of financial laxity, there has never been a better opportunity to pass on a message of caution.

It may be increasingly difficult in this day and age to avoid debt in one’s everyday life – particularly if one intends to make a go of a business career at any point – but a bit of financial wisdom can give the children of today the thought processes to deal with the future in a mature and secure way. Don’t teach them to be afraid of debt, but to understand good and bad debt. Don’t let your children see loans as free money, nor see savings as being boring or cheap. Good financial sense starts at an early age, and with a bit of forward thinking can lead to a very satisfactory future. Instilling these messages will mean less likelihood of a repeat of what we are currently dealing with.