As our children grow older and wiser than their parents, there remain several topics that we must provide guidance and information for shaping their future. One, of course, is the “birds and bees” talk that is difficult to begin but absolutely required. Another is the importance of church and the lessons learned from reading and hearing the scriptures. One other is a primer on developing sound financial values. In the Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine dated August, 2015, there is a good article on helping our kids with their financial education. 58% of millennials interviewed by USA Today and Bank of America said that their parents’ advice or example provided them the model for handling their own finances. Conversely, another study showed that 72% of parents are reluctant to talk to their children about financial matters. Maybe the parent needs a confidence boost. It is not so important that you are a financial whiz; you will probably know more than your kids. Use everyday examples to help their education, such as new car vs used, brand name vs generic, etc. At some point, provide them with a small bank account so that they can learn the basics of managing money. Teach them about the good and bad of credit cards. Share television programs that cover the financial markets.
As they get older, encourage them to work and fund purchases of “discretionary” clothing or electronics. This should help them understand budgeting and comparison shopping. When they are in college, they will most likely have their own checking account. Studies have shown that experience with the account made a positive difference in the student’s financial knowledge and behavior. When your child asks you for something, there is nothing wrong with denying the request and offering an alternative. For example, suggest inviting friends over for a “streaming” internet movie vs going out for a movie with the ticket and food prices attached to that decision. The article concludes with this advice: “By giving kids a clear message and practicing what you preach, you can set any standard, teach any lesson or pass along any value, whether it’s saving for the future, giving to charity or saying thanks. The key is to teach children how to express gratitude, rather than feel entitled, so they will pass that tradition to their own children.”
I read the following in a commentary several weeks ago and found it very uplifting. I hope you agree. From the July 5 Forward reading: “Hope born of character building is by its very nature wild and empty of self-pity. It is the rugged and tireless confidence that things are going to get better, in this life or the next, so we might as well find a way to be kind, loving and joyful. Hope is the thing with wings. Hope is filling the unexpected and scary prescription and still buying plane tickets. It’s putting a bottle of champagne in the fridge for no good reason other than the conviction that something worth celebrating is going to happen. Hope is what gives us the will to do one more-one more breath, one more prayer, one more day. Hope saves us, keeps us going, and reminds us that God’s goodness and grace are waiting to surprise, satisfy, and delight us with unexpected joy and love.” Is that good or what? Every time I read it, I feel rejuvenated. My prayer for you is that you have hope, you have peace, and you have God in your life each and every day.
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