This post was underwritten by BMO Harris Bank, which offers a matching $25 on a new savings account opened for your child through their Helpful Steps for Parents program. Learn more at bmoharris.com/parents
When I was young, I thought my family was poor. My parents would continually tell me, “We can’t afford that,” when I wanted something and I felt bad asking them for things as I got older.
I got my first job when I was fourteen and I spent every single paycheck on make-up, clothes, CDs and continued to want and need more material things as I made more money.
Job after job, I never quite learned how to manage money responsibly. I was really good at spending it and found myself working quite a bit during college, just to keep up with the minimum payment on my credit card bill that quickly got out of control after turning 18.
By the time I was twenty-five and making a decent paycheck, I had college loans on top of credit card debt and unable to save anything after paying my monthly bills.
Fast forward ten years and I’m now in recovery mode. With even more debt after my divorce, I had no choice but to file for bankruptcy.
After years of making poor choices surrounding money, I am finally able to get a fresh start and learn from the mistakes I made in the past.
I tell him, “I am not willing to buy that for you right now,” or “I would rather spend my money on other things.” I encourage him to add things to his wish list for his birthday or Christmas and support his goals to save his money for future purchases instead of impulsively spending his cash the minute it lands in his lap.
In the past few years, I have read several books on money management. I’ve also discovered websites geared toward kids which help to teach him about money through interactive games and activities.
The Zone has games and activities, categorized for specific age groups, which has been a great way to start the discussion of financial responsibility in our household.
I still have a lot to learn about being financially responsible. For the sake of my children, I’m going to do everything I can to make better choices and help them get a head start on saving for their future.
What are you doing to make sure your kids are financially fit?