Tis the season, Christmas is a distant memory, St Valentine's and St Patrick's Day barely got a look in. Easter whizzed past in a chocolatey haze. It is that whirlwind time of year when parents across the country bite their nails to nubs, figuring out how to navigate the social and practical rituals that come hand in hand with the sacraments of First Holyommunion and Confirmation.
While parents are losing sleep trying to fund the day out, decide who to invite or, often more importantly, who not to. Kids across the country are gearing up for the biggest windfall of their life to date. While we're all fully aware the sacraments themselves should be front and centre, sometimes the realities of commerce shove money to the fore. Whether we like it or not, it gets more of the headings in the media.
Whatever your view, there is a great opportunity here that shouldn't be missed, as chances like these do not come around very often.
Every parent should take this rare moment to lean into it, and if you haven't already, use this day out to begin their money journey right here and right now.
From day one, teaching children about money management is an important life skill that will help them make informed decisions about their finances. It is one of the best chances you'll ever get to instil a solid foundation to build a strong, healthy relationship with money.
One of the first opportunities for children to learn about money is when they receive their First Holy Communion, a significant milestone for many families. But if you missed that, like the consistency of Haileys Comet, you're second chance comes at Confirmation.
These events often result in a significant amount of money being gifted to the child, with media this year citing the average amount per child as upwards of €600 and even 6% receiving over €1,000. Naturally, that sort of windfall would daunt many adults, let alone a kid.
'That is why it is so important to take this moment to teach them how to manage this money responsibly.'
Teaching children about money management is one of the most important life skills that you, as a parent, can give to your children.
We all know money plays an essential role in our lives, and learning how to manage it properly is critical to our financial well-being.
Grab this holy grail of teaching opportunities for your child and run with it. Here's why:
1. Helps to develop good financial habits
Teaching children about money and good money management early in life helps to sow the seed of good financial habits that will stand out to them throughout their lives. By learning how to budget, save, and eventually invest, children can develop the skills necessary to manage their money effectively and avoid the pitfalls of debt and financial mismanagement.
2. Promotes responsible decision-making
Managing money effectively requires good decision-making skills. By teaching children about money early, you can help them learn how to make responsible decisions that will benefit them in the long term. This includes learning how to prioritize needs versus wants, understanding the value of money, and setting financial goals. This skill is transferrable across so many areas of daily life, not just money.
3. Teaches the importance of delayed gratification
One of the key lessons in money management is the importance of delayed gratification. Children who learn to save and sort their money early understand the value of delaying short-term gratification for long-term gain. This skill can help them throughout their lives as they learn to make sound financial decisions and avoid impulsive spending.
4. Encourages independence
Children who learn to manage their money effectively can develop a sense of self-reliance and become more responsible for their financial well-being. This independence can lead to greater confidence and self-esteem, which can benefit them in all areas of life. Most of us could do with a little extra confidence, and there is no better place to start than with money.
5. Prevents financial problems in the future
Finally, teaching children about money and good money management early in life can help prevent future financial problems. Children can develop the skills necessary to manage their money effectively and avoid the pitfalls of debt and financial mismanagement. This can lead to a lifetime of financial stability and security. Now that is the dream.
With me so far?
So that's the why, here's the how….
There are so many ways to do this, whether it's the money jars at home, opening a credit union or bank account figure out what works best for you and your child and start by doing some of these.
1. Start with the money basics
Before diving into the specifics of managing a large sum of money, starting with the basics is essential. Teach your child about the different denominations of money and how to count and add them up. Make it fun and interactive by using real money or play money to practice counting.
This is especially important as most kids will be receiving cash. Cash isn't as common nowadays as it used to be, and many adults live their life mostly cashless, giving less opportunity to show how it works on a day-to-day basis. Don't assume they are as comfortable with cash as you are.
2. Set savings goals
Encourage your child to set savings goals for the money they receive. The holy communion money is the starting point, and pocket money, birthday money etc., can be used to keep the habit going.
Whether it's saving for a specific toy or gadget, a future purchase, or a college fund, setting goals helps children understand the value of money and the importance of saving. They will also feel great when they can walk into the store and buy the item themselves.
3. Create a budget
It is never too early to introduce the concept of budgeting. Help your child create a budget to manage their money. This should include both short-term and long-term expenses. Short-term expenses may include things like toys or treats, while long-term expenses could be spending money for a holiday or a computer console, or college savings.
4. Teach them about interest
Introduce your child to the concept of interest and how it can help their savings grow over time. You can set up a savings account for your child, and they can watch their money grow with interest. I totally understand that interest isn't at its best at the moment, but like everything great start else, things tend to flip and change over time. So start as you mean to continue, and don't be afraid to introduce this topic to them.
5. Lead by example
Children learn best by observing and imitating. Be a good role model by showing responsible money management habits in your own life. Let them see you budgeting, saving, and investing. Better have a still talk them through your process and make it an easy open topic in your home.
6. Encourage charitable giving
I'm a huge fan of this, not only to sow the seed of giving but l it also introduces the concept of tax. I.e. not all money that is earned gets to be kept, a lesson many of us only learn when we get our first paycheck.
Teach your child the importance of giving back by encouraging them to donate a portion of their First Holy Communion money to a charity or church. This will help them understand the value of generosity and empathy towards others.
7. Make it a fun learning experience
Money management doesn't have to be boring or daunting. Make it a fun learning experience by keeping the whole experience light and fun and flexible. Money is a long game and a healthy relationship with money is all about finding your balance.
Receiving a large sum of money like their First Holy Communion or Confirmation can be overwhelming for any child. However, with you on their side, taking the time to teach what you know, they.
Teaching children about money helps them to avoid some of the major money mistakes that we, as adults, make all the time. We all have them in our past. Imagine if we could help our children sidestep some of those money speed bumps.
By helping them build those good financial habits, promoting responsible decision-making, teaching the importance of delayed gratification, encouraging independence, and preventing financial problems in the future, you can help your child avoid so many money mistakes we make and lead them towards a less stressful future.
Start with the basics, and make it a fun learning experience.
You and they will be glad you did
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