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3 Simple Lessons To Teach Your Children That Life Is More Than Toys

Commercials, TV, and your kid's friends all tell your kid, “You need this. If you don't have it, you won’t be cool.” All parents want their kids to be happy and popular, but how can we teach our kids that life isn't about having all the latest cool toys and clothes when commercials and their friends are telling them that it is? The world is full of kids who feel entitled to whatever they want - right now!

It starts out when they are small. At three or four they are already reaching for candy on the shelves in the grocery store. As they get older, they insist on a new toy every time you go to the store. It soon turns into a new video game and then clothes. By the time they are sixteen. most kids think they are entitled to a car - and money for driving it to and from wherever they want to hang out to be cool.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with making your children happy. But buying them everything they see advertised or everything their friends have is sending the following message: "Everything you want will be yours. Your don't have to do anything."

This causes major problems.

First, parents can go broke. If you find yourself struggling to pay the bills while the latest game system dominates the family room, you have a problem.

Second, parents are raising self entitled kids. These kids grow up believing that they can have everything. When they reach adulthood, they have no idea how to cope. They don't understand that NOW they have to work to get what they want - and they simply haven't learned that concept. They look for ways to continue the lifestyle they grew up in.

Sometimes they stay with their parents for years after they should be on their own. Other times they move out, but not knowing how to balance what they "need" and what they "want", they max out their credit cards and end up needing a bailout. Occasionally, they are so self entitled that they resort to stealing. They feel they are entitled to these things and justify getting them any way possible. A few get jobs, get their own homes, and feel like they are slapped in the face when they realize that they can no longer have all the things they grew up with. It's a hard road.

By teaching your children the value of earning things, you will be making his life (and yours) much easier.

It's time to start teaching your child the value of money. Here are three lessons to start with:

Money doesn't grow on trees.
What your child needs to learn with this lesson is that everything costs money. People work to earn money. The money they earn has to pay for everything -including rent, food, clothes, gas, car payments - and finally cool toys. If your child is old enough, show them the family finances. Help them understand the budget. You can't expect them to understand why you need to say "no" if they don't understand that before you buy them cool toys, you need to buy them shelter, food and clothes.

Encourage them to find ways to earn their own money. Let them know that you want to help them but if they want something, they need to work to earn it. Or they can wait for Christmas or their birthday. Better yet, they could save up their allowance. You could offer to give them extra chores in order to help them earn the money faster.

Often your child will decide that some things aren't worth working for. Yep,it was something they absolutely needed as long as they didn't have to work for it - but, when it their hard work, they learn that some things just aren't worth having.

The key to financial success is budgeting
As kids get older, teach them how to budget. One good way is to give them a clothing budget. Give them a monthly allowance to spend on clothes. If you decide on $100 per month, teach them that if they save part of that money one month, they will be able to buy a more expensive item next month. This is also a great lesson for kids who don't seem to care about their clothes. They soon learn that if they lose the coat that cost them $100, they will be replacing it.

Teaching your children to budget gives them an important lesson about budgeting, but it also teaches them that money is for more than just fun things.

Savings accounts are an easy, safe investment
If your child puts $50 per month in his savings account. Even if he were to stop putting money in the account when he left home at age 20, as long as he did not withdraw any of that money, he could have close to a million dollars when he reaches retirement age. Interest rates change. The scenario above assumes a steady 8% interest. But, the point is: by building an account to $10,000 and then leaving that account to collect interest, your child's retirement could be guaranteed. More than most of us can count on.

There are several good resources on the internet to help you teach your children about money. Wells Fargo offers a site called HandsOnBanking to teach people of all ages about savings. US Bank offers a free children's savings account with no minimum balance requirements.

Consider introducing children to U.S. savings bonds. Bonds are still a good value. They cost half their face value and earning interest that in some instances will be tax-free if used for a college education. Your child can purchase a $50 savings bond for $25.

Get your kids interested in saving early. Review their account with them each year to show them how it grows. It will serve them well in the years to come.

What we teach our children when they are young can make their life so much easier than learning the hard way. Start early. Spend a few minutes each week to explain or encourage financial values. Praise them when they make good decisions.

When we spend a little time teaching our children life lessons, we not only save time, we save money. Your children can be happy without all the goodies if they are taught about money. If they grow up not understanding about budgeting and money management, they can grow up thinking they can have anything they want and that line of thinking will have a big negative impact on their lives.




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