Giving Your Kids a Financial Advantage

This morning I was ice skating. My warm up routine consists of doing a series of moves to “feel the ice” and get balanced over two thin skate blades. What does this have to with money? A lot!

In a recent meeting with clients who are parents of two teens, one that is in high school, the other going off to college. My clients were telling me that their kids do everything on apps. They don’t write anything down-they have no idea what a check register is. So what?!

Now the skating analogy. Years ago in skating there was an element that all competitors had to do—school figures. Intricate turns and edges based on a figure 8.   They were hard to do—the turns had to be on specific places on the circle. Skaters learned control and balance as well as focus doing these turns while maintaining speed, flow and posture. Judges not only reviewed the quality of circles and turns, but how did the skater look doing them? These skills transferred over to overall skating quality of a skater.

When I go to the rink in this modern age, kids have no idea what figures were. They zip onto the ice and start skating around. They practice jumps and spins, but when they move around the ice, they aren’t really in control of the ice. The quality and creativity of skating has decreased. If you don’t believe me, other than the Olympics, when did you last see Ice Skating on TV? Jumps and spins do not require much creativity-they are tricks anyone can do. It’s what a skater does in between the jumps and spins that creates the magic.

I feel a checking account is a basic of money management. The basics, like a figure 8, are writing down debits, deposits, tracking what’s cleared or not, cash flow management, and overall discipline of managing money.  Knowing where your money goes is a basic tenet for financial success.

In my book I mention that kids learn money skills from their parents. Are you balancing your checkbook? Are you keeping track of what’s cleared or not? Do you write down your deposits and expenses? What if you had to stop a payment –do you have the details to do that? Are you timely tracking your debit card purchases? How much money is going to fees for overdraft protection? If you aren’t managing your money with a checkbook, then how will your kids ever know?

Do your kids a favor and help get them started on a good financial habit that gives them an advantage and a solid fundamental—teach them what a checking account is and how to track money. Make them write entries down. Help them master this money fundamental so they know what to do and why they are doing it.  Balancing a check book and keeping track of your money is never old fashioned. It’s the first step to financial success.

Previous post:

Next post: