According to CNBC Make It, millennials between the ages of 25 and 34 hold an average of $42,000 in debt per person. Most of this is not from home loans or student loans, which are generally considered good debt. Instead, the biggest culprit is credit cards. With trends like these, you may be wondering how to teach your child about stocks, saving and overall money management. Here are a few tips provided by some of the experts in finance.
1. Start with Exposure
According to USA Today, one associate professor in Georgia started his investment lessons at home by exposing his children to the financial news at breakfast. At the time, his children were only 5 and 9 years old, but their ears quickly perked up. Soon, they wanted to know about price changes and market fluctuations.
While this makes an excellent start, there are other tactics parents can explore. Younger children may be interested in playing video games and board games designed with investment lessons in mind. Older children, such as teenagers, may want to do some research on their own or even experiment with stock simulators online.
2. Get Some Skin in the Game
The next step is to encourage children to invest some of their own money. This is the approach Leif Kristjansen, the founder of FiveYearFIREescape, decided to take with his own children.
“When they are around 8, I tell them if they put some money in the stock market, I will match it. [This] makes them very interested in investing and stocks,” he tells Parentology. “From there it becomes easy to teach investing principles because they have skin in the game.”
Steffa Mantilla, a wealth-building and debt payoff strategist, had a similar experience as a child. She tells Parentology, “Growing up, my dad taught me about stocks and investing by putting $50 every month into a mutual fund. Every month when the statement came in the mail, we’d look at it together to see how the fund was doing.”
3. Show Off the Advantages
When it comes to stocks, children may learn more through demonstration than mere explanations. If the family has investments, show how this has helped the family to reach current goals or support future plans, such as early retirement or a vacation home.
Logan Allec, a parent, CPA, and owner of personal finance site Money Done Right, proposes another angle to Parentology. He says, “[F]ind examples of successful investors and describe them to your children. For example, many famous athletes your kids may know are big investors. Your kids may become more interested if they know their heroes are also investors!”
The Bottom Line
Financial literacy is one of the most valuable life skills parents can pass on to their children. Even so, few people will disagree that stocks can be boring and confusing. This makes it a difficult topic for children and an intimidating topic for many adults. However, when parents find smart ways to teach kids about investing sooner rather than later, they improve the likelihood of creating financially sound adults.
How to Teach Your Child About Stocks — Sources
CNBC Make It, Millennials Ages 25-34 Have $42,000 In Debt, and Most of It Isn’t From Student Loans
USA Today, Investing: How To Teach Kids About Money And Stocks
Leif Kristjansen, FiveYearFIREescape
Logan Allec, CPA, Money Done Right
Steffa Mantilla, Plantsonify