Babies and Families

Teach Your Children to be Financially Independent

Financial lessons are a part of giving your children a bright future. Getting them ready to manage money and how to set long-term goals are all important lessons to teach while they are young.

Five Ways Parents Can Become Better Providers

When people hear the word “provider,” they probably think of someone with a paycheck. But providing for your family means more than just paying bills and managing the family budget.

As parents, we have a responsibility to provide for our children’s needs across the board. That includes covering basic necessities like clothes and shoes, as well as intangibles like teaching them to have confidence in their abilities and how to budget.

Financially speaking, providing is more than the money you make. It also means teaching children about money, and giving them chances to practice skills they’ll depend on as adults.

Five ways to give your children a brighter financial future:

1. Find ways to make money feel real – not abstract.

In our digital era, it’s possible to live indefinitely without touching cash. Even when cash was common, money was still an abstract concept. The problem is, it’s hard for children (or anyone, really) to be responsible with something they don’t really understand. Consider this point made by the New York Times: “Money is a source of mystery to children. They sense its power, so they ask questions ... We adults, however, tend to do a miserable job of answering.” What to do? Here’s how one dad helped his children wrap their minds around the reality of money.

2. Ask for their help in creating a family budget.

Creating a budget can be a fun exercise in problem-solving; it’s also a positive way to spend time together ... providing your children with financial savvy, as well as quality time. For older children, use pencil and paper, a spreadsheet, or money-management software that tracks your spending. If they’re younger, use something more tactile, like pennies or beans. Each bean should count for a consistent dollar amount. By creating different piles for different needs, you can communicate the basics of budgeting: how much you have, what you’re obligated to spend, what’s left over and how to allocate it.

3. Protect their future with life insurance.

At an age when a summer feels like forever, it’s hard for children, even young adults, to recognize the importance of planning for their future. When you buy life insurance, you help ensure your kids will have the resources they’ll need down the road, in moments they can’t yet comprehend.

4. Help them evaluate priorities.

Think about priorities as concentric circles, with the innermost circle being your family’s most basic necessities like the roof over your head, or the shoes on your feet. What else matters? What other circles might you draw around that one, and in which order? Visualizing priorities in this way can help your children reason for themselves about what’s important to them, and where it makes sense for them to put their money. Are they passionate about a particular hobby? Does that hobby take more or less priority than a long-term goal? Rather than looking for right or wrong answers, emphasize how people’s priorities influence their family budget choices – and their futures.

5. Model your values and be smart about giving.

Do you donate to causes that are important to you? Do you want your children to help others as well as themselves? Tell them about the charities you give to, and when choosing where to give, involve them. Whom does the organization help? Is it legit? How important is its mission to you? By involving your children in questions like these, you communicate the importance of philanthropy ... and make it more likely that your children will choose to give in turn.

Want to give your children a brighter future? Give them a healthy relationship with their finances. That’s not the only thing that matters – but it matters a lot.

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All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Learning Center articles may describe services and financial products not offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries. Descriptions of financial products contained in Learning Center articles are not intended to represent those offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Neither Protective Life nor its representatives offer legal or tax advice. We encourage you to consult with your financial adviser and legal or tax adviser regarding your individual situations before making investment, social security, retirement planning, and tax‐related decisions. For information about Protective Life and its products and services, visit www.protective.com.

Companies and organizations linked from Learning Center articles have no affiliation with Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Family Budget

Parenting brings about many responsibilities. Not only do you care for your children, love them and provide for them, it is also important to teach them financial responsibility. Working with them to create a family budget will not only make them feel part of the family it will also teach them the importance of financial accountability that will follow them for years to come. For more information, visit our learning center.

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