I am the proud parent of three growing independent-thinking kids. No not the ones pictured, although I picked the pic 'cause it reminded me of me in High School. My parents did a lot of things right bringing up my brother and me. I wouldn't be where I am without them, especially my Mom, believing in me.
However today the one thing I look back on and wish I had a better understanding of personal finance when I was younger. Today, I understand why; my Mom was just trying to make ends meet, and given my award winning personality from 13-17 I probably wouldn't of listened, because I was lucky...I already knew everything.
Our kids though will leave the house with these lessons understood and hopefully better prepared then I was.
Ten Personal Finance Things Every Kid Should Know:
- You Can be a Millionaire - If you start right away save $10K for 5 years, NEVER add to it again, get 8% average ROI, in 40 years you will have over $1 Million. Its not sexy, but it is math
- Tomorrow Gets Here Fast - The Power of Compounding is your best buddy and worst enemy. Start the same exercise 10 years later? You've blown nearly $500K! Do it now, do it every year and you can achieve wealth unlike anyone ever in our families history.
- Spend Less then you Make - A debt never earned is a life lived without debt chains
- NEVER buy a Depreciating Asset on Credit - And don't ask your Dad why he bought a Corvette when your Mom was 6 months pregnant :)
- Use Cash When you Can - It isn't old fashioned, and it will ensure #3 is a reality!
- Have a Success Plan - This is a plan this is always changing and at least 3 steps ahead. Never get to a space that makes you say "Now What?"
- Own your Things, Don't let them Own You - Life is too short to pay for a meal for four years! Do you really need the Pool Table or do you want it. Know cold Needs, Wants and Desires. Address them in that order!
- Know how to Balance a Checkbook, Without using Quicken! - I still do pen/paper as well as MS Money, and I have found errors both ways. Often from the banks side. But I knew when the bank messed up, and I got my money back. I wonder how many people miss those charges. Learn the basic terminology of money and don't be afraid to ask questions! The only dumb questions are the ones never asked!
- Only do Something you Love Doing, Regardless of the Pay - Even if it means not making as much money as someone else. Fifty years of hateful toil isn't worth it. And many who don't follow their love spend the extra to feel better anyway!
- Never Accept Less than what you Deserve - Whether it is a deal that wasn't handled right, or a job that isn't working out, in a positive way, you have to ask for what you want, you just might get it!
There are many more, but just think how much better off many of us would be debt-wise if we internalized these lessons! I know I would be in better shape. And isn't that what parenting is all about?