Frank Legan Advisors at Cedar Brook Group

How to Teach Your Kids About Money

2022-11 How to Teach Your Kids About Money

By Frank Legan 

Of all the topics taught in school, many still do not teach children about financial literacy. But learning savvy money skills early on should be a priority, since financial literacy is a crucial life skill to have as an adult. 

If you aren’t sure where to begin the money conversation with your kids, here are some ways to get started.  

1. Be an Example

If you want your kids to grasp the importance of handling money wisely, let them watch you make financial decisions and model what you want them to learn. 

The number-one money habit children learn from their parents is spending habits—good or bad. If you spend money recklessly, your kids will see that. If you rely on credit cards to cover expenses or argue with your spouse about finances, they’ll accept that behavior as the norm. Your actions set a precedent, so be intentional about how you model money management to your kids and let their watchful eyes be a motivator to change any negative financial habits.

When she was younger, our daughter, Reese, would go on grocery shopping trips with my wife, Laura. Walking through the store together, they would identify staple items that were on sale; they would purchase more of these items, spending less on full-price items. What may have just seemed like fun to Reese at the time was actually planting the seed of a wise financial habit!

2. Start the Conversation

Since many areas of personal finance aren’t visible, sometimes a silent model isn’t enough. That’s why it’s vital to start the conversation. Talking to your kids about money regularly leads to kids who are more financially literate. It doesn’t have to be a long discussion. Just let them in on your thinking and decision making as you go about your day-to-day life. At the grocery store, explain why you buy the off-brand cereal; at the bank, explain why the bank keeps your money and why you only take what you need from the ATM. Let them watch you set up an automatic bill pay online. Explain that money moves from the checking account to the vendor on a certain day of the month until you go back into the automatic bill pay and stop it. These real-world scenarios help cement the whys and hows of money in your child’s mind. 

3. Give Them Opportunities

For financial understanding to truly sink in, kids need to experience their own successes and failures. On a practical level, give your 5-year-old money to buy something at the store so they learn the value of different items and realize that, to obtain something like a toy, an exchange of money needs to take place. Try letting your 10-year-old figure out the cost of a new video game, plus tax, and help them save up allowance money to pay for it. Let your teenager buy their back-to-school clothes with a set amount of money. Seeking out financial literacy classes in your area or online is another great way to introduce the topic of money management to your children. As they get older, you may choose to guide them in investing some of their hard-earned money, letting them make some of the decisions. It may seem a little scary at first, but we all learn best by doing, so allowing your kids to make mistakes can teach them valuable life-long lessons.

When Reese was a senior in high school (she’s a sophomore in college now), her calculus teacher assigned a budgeting exercise. After picking a career and a specific city to live in, she filled in a budgeting worksheet using a specific salary from a job on an employment site and a specific rent for an apartment in the city in which she chose to live. She filled in the rest of the worksheet by choosing an amount to save each month, plus other expenses like cell phone, food, entertainment, etc. It was eye-opening for Reese to see how much things cost relative to what she thought she might earn. She’s been a diligent saver of her earnings from summer jobs and part-time work ever since!

We’re Here for You

You want what’s best for your children. Whether you’re implementing an allowance, putting money aside for college, or saving for other major milestones in your kids’ lives, you might be wondering if you’re doing an adequate job. 

There are countless resources out there to assist parents in teaching their kids about money—but where to start? At Cedar Brook Group, we want to empower our clients to lead the lives they envision through insightful financial planning and wealth management. Let us help you do the same for your children. Reach out to us at 440-683-9213 or flegan@cedarbrookfinancial.com or schedule a complimentary introductory call online!

About Frank

Frank Legan is Partner, Financial Advisor, and member of the Forward Look Committee at Cedar Brook Group, one of the largest independent wealth management firms in Northeast Ohio. Frank spends his days designing and implementing personalized financial planning strategies for corporate executives, closely held business owners, artists, families, and retirees. He specializes in lifetime income strategies, investment advice, and estate planning services. He also works with businesses to develop strategic and succession planning strategies. Frank has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Dayton, as well as a Master of Public Administration focused on municipal management from Cleveland State University. Prior to joining Cedar Brook Group, Frank was a financial advisor in the private client group at Merrill Lynch and with NatCity/PNC Investments. Frank is active in his community, serving on various councils, boards, and committees. Frank serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland, and is a board member of the Catholic Community Foundation. When he’s not working, you can find Frank spending time with his wife, Laura, their daughter, Reese, and their beloved collie, Charlie. Frank and his family are volunteers at St. Francis of Assisi church in Gates Mills. To learn more about Frank, connect with him on LinkedIn.

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About Frank Legan

frank-legan-bio

Frank Legan is a Cleveland-based author, a partner and financial advisor at The Cedar Brook Group, one of the largest independent wealth management firms in Northeast Ohio. Frank spends his days designing and implementing personalized financial planning strategies for corporate executives, business owners, artists, families and retirees. He focuses on lifetime income planning strategies, investment advice, and estate planning services. He also works with businesses to develop strategic and succession planning strategies.

Frank holds a B.A. from the University of Dayton and a master’s degree from Cleveland State University.

Frank has been active in his community as he served as a Council Representative at Large for the City of Highland Heights, as well as Vice President and Secretary for the Hillcrest Council of Councils. He currently serves as a Board Member and Emeritus Chairman for Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland.

Frank lives in Gates Mills with his wife Laura, daughter Reese and their collie Charlie.

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