Many money habits are set by age nine. In particular, research shows that most personal money habits are established by age nine, so it's critical to start teaching early.
Allowing your children to spend money now and learn from their mistakes will help them later on when they face increasingly important decisions with large sums of money.
You can teach them the value of saving and delayed gratification, which will positively impact their adult financial decisions and relationships with money.
How Money Habits Get Set Ages 7 to 9
By age seven, a child will probably know the value of a dollar. They may be able to describe how money works or learn how to count money. By age nine, basic money habits are set.
They can distinguish between coins, have a concept of change, and understand that money is not endless. At this age, children can also count out change and recognize the monetary value of items.
What's more, these habits are likely to stick with them for life. If you are not careful with money at these ages, your child could develop bad money habits that will be hard to break later.
How to Help Your Child Develop Positive Money Habits
Here are some ways you can effectively teach your children positive money habits:
1. Teach Them to Save
Many kids are notoriously bad at saving, but that shouldn't mean you shouldn't teach them the concept. Encourage them to save their money by putting it into a piggy bank or some other container from an early age.
Once they have a few dollars, encourage them to start taking coins out of their piggy bank and put them into a larger container, such as an empty coffee can.
2. Enumerate Real Costs Involved
If your kids spend their money quickly, help them make a list of things they want to buy. If they want to buy something, let them see the real costs involved.
For example, if they want a candy bar that costs five cents, show them that the cost is five pennies. Encourage them to count out five pennies if they want to buy the candy bar.
3. Don't Keep Them from Making Mistakes
Studies show that people who make mistakes with money in their youth are more successful later in life. If your kids fail with money, don't make them feel bad. If they are upset, comfort them, but let them know it's a good idea to learn from their mistakes.
You should also use their mistakes as a learning experience. For example, if they decide to make a food purchase because of an advertisement, talk to them about how commercials don't always tell the truth.
4. Teach Them the Value of Hard Work
If your kids receive regular allowances or have money coming in from other sources, teach them the value of hard work. Allow them to work for their money by offering them odd jobs around the house or setting a reasonable price for helping out with chores.
This will help them learn the difference between being paid for helping and being paid for work and will help them appreciate the value of money.
Whereas adults can be blind to their own financial mistakes, children are more likely to recognize financial errors, so it's best to show them how to do it right. By establishing good money habits, your kids will be better prepared to deal with their finances in adulthood.
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