The National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) surveyed young adults in 2017 and asked them what high school level course would benefit their lives the most.
The majority responded that money management was the course that would be most beneficial.
With personal debt is at its highest record and COVID-19 threatening to have the hardest economic effects on youth, understanding money and finances is an important life lesson that should be taught to children at a young age.
The following is a list of the best financial literacy lessons and tips to teach children throughout different life stages.
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A 2013 University of Cambridge study stated that by the time children are just 7 years old, they have already formed money habits. While toddlers are still too young to be taught the value of money, it's never too early to introduce money and spending to them. Here are some great ways to introduce money to young children.
- Get them their first piggy bank. Clear piggy banks work best so that the child can visually see their money grow. If you would like to take it further, give your child two separate piggy banks—one for spending and one for saving.
- Encourage play money. While getting familiar with money is important at a young age, you don't necessarily want your child handling dirty money. Investing in a money play set and teaching money lessons through play is a great way to introduce money to children—because what toddler doesn't love to play store?
- Children learn by example, and setting a good financial example for your younger children to follow is important.
- Open a joint savings account with them. I am an avid believer in parents holding at least two types of saving vehicles for their children—one that the parent can fully control and one for the child to be on jointly. When the time is right for you and your child to open the account, make it a fun and exciting event for them. This is a great opportunity to get them familiar with banks and depositing money.
- Check for educational games and apps that have money learning games. Savings Spree is great for kids and well worth the $5 price.
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By now most children know financial basics, such as the different denominations, but keeping up with their financial learning at this stage in life can be crucial. Here are some tools and tips to help your child navigate through the beginning steps of learning what it means to control their own finances.
- Don't simply give your kids allowances—instead, teach them about earning money by assigning chores and rewards. iAllownce is a great resource and management tool to create chores, automated payouts, and rewards that can be synced to children's devices in your household.
- Gift your child a stock that has meaning to them. Giving a kid a piece of paper and telling them they own a share of stock isn't that exciting. But perhaps presenting it to them as they are now the proud owner of stock—and in turn, a part of the company itself—may be a little more satisfying, especially if it's coming from a company they are familiar with and has meaning to them (i.e. Disney). This is a great way to introduce kids into the world of investments and stocks.
- Teach lessons about value in goods and opportunity costs. If your child only has enough money to buy one of the two things they want, talk it over with them. Have them figure out the value of each item by comparing costs, longevity, and desire; this will show them that if they choose one thing, they can't have the other (the opportunity cost). Likewise, encouraging kids to think a purchase over for a day before making decisions instills strong values that will prevent them from making impulse buys as adults.
Do not depend on your child's school to teach them financial literacy, as less than half of states require high school students to take a personal finance course. High school years are the perfect time to develop your kid's financial freedom so they are prepared to make smart choices when out on their own.
- Let your child earn a paycheck other than a chore allowance, whether through a job or by pursuing their own business entrepreneurship such as an Etsy shop. Your child's first paycheck can be a great lesson on taxes.
- The most important thing you can teach your teen is how to keep a checkbook ledger, as well as how to fill out a check and a deposit slip. In my time working at a bank, the majority of teens and younger adults I encountered had almost no prior knowledge about basic banking transactions. While the argument against keeping up with such tasks is that banking is now mostly online, there is no direct way to keep exact track of your account balances without some sort of ledger entry. Card swipe and electronic transfers have become nearly instant ways of making transactions on checking accounts—but not everything instantly goes through your account.
- Help teens set long term savings goals and encourage them to always put a percentage of their income into savings. One great savings incentive is to set up a savings match with them. I once had a banking customer that told her children she would match whatever they put into their savings account by the time they graduated.
- Teach them healthy credit card habits. It's important for teenagers to learn the dangers of credit card spending, but I am an adamant believer that every parent should help their child get a first time credit card at the age of 18 to instill good credit habits.
- Help them create a budget. Sit down with them and together figure out their monthly income. If they have any monthly expenses (gas, cell phone, etc.) subtract that from their monthly income to figure out how much money they have left for spending and saving.
Between buying a new home and transporting yourself and your belongings to it, moving can be an expensive process. One often underrecognized cost of moving occurs before one's original house has even been sold, and that's staging the house. Homeowners often spend hundreds of dollars making a home appealing to potential buyers. To ease the financial burden of moving, here are several tips for staging your home on a budget.
Downsize Instead of Storing
The goal of staging a home is to create a blank canvas that potential buyers can imagine their own lives painted upon. To accomplish this, homeowners should depersonalize the home as much as possible, removing items that are specific to their family and eliminating clutter. This is where homeowners often incur their first costs as they rush to put as many older things in storage as possible.
To cut costs, focus on downsizing rather than storing items. Look for items that you can sell, donate, or give away. For remaining items, look for alternative places to store them, such as a friend or relative's house. This will also reduce the cost of moving your belongings when it is time to go to the new house.
DIY What You Can
There are times when homeowners should bring in a professional to manage home renovations and decorating, such as when a task requires specialized skills. These types of jobs, when done incorrectly, will incur even greater costs if attempted on your own. However, many of the home improvement tasks that go into staging a home are simple enough that the homeowner can DIY them, such as painting, installing a backsplash, or refinishing the deck. Doing these tasks yourself will save you a significant amount of money.
Don't Redo, Update
Homeowners are often eager to make their houses look as appealing to buyers as possible. However, recall that the point of staging is depersonalization, making a home presentable so buyers can mentally impose their own style onto it. When staging a home on a budget, focus less on completely transforming the space and more on making what is there look presentable. For instance, if you wanted to give your bedroom a facelift, trying to replace the furniture and flooring would be pointless unless it was damaged or unkempt. Simply organizing the space and replacing the bed's comforter would be sufficient.
Another way to update the space without entirely redoing it is to rearrange it to maximize the space that is already there. For instance, pulling the furniture away from the walls will make a room appear bigger and allows more space for those touring the house. Using window trimmings that maximize natural light and incorporating wall mirrors can also make a room seem more spacious.
Raising a larger family than most means that your lifestyle is going to change. Costs will continue to multiply as your family grows larger. However, just because your family is large doesn't mean your quality of life needs to suffer. It just means you need to make a few adjustments to help things work smoother and more efficiently. We've compiled a couple of money-saving tips for larger families to help you get the most out of your dollars.
Always Buy in Bulk
The benefit of having a larger family is that things you buy in bulk rarely ever go to waste. Smaller families can benefit from buying in bulk, of course, but your large family will see the most use out of shopping in large quantities. You'll want to avoid going to smaller stores for necessities such as groceries and clothes, as these places generally have higher markups on their items.
Buy Wholesale Items Online
If you want to take buying in bulk to the next level, one of the best money-saving tips for large families is to buy online from wholesalers. Buying online comes with a number of benefits that you won't get when you go to a physical store:
- You don't have to drag your kids to the store with you
- You have a lower probability of making impulse purchases
- You can search for exactly what you need
- Wholesalers sell in very large quantities for a lower price per item
Never Throw Away Something Useful
When you have to buy things for multiple children, your costs to replace items will be much higher. That's why it's so important to keep everything you can. Clothing is a big part of this. Hand-me-downs can prevent you from needing to replace entire closets every year. Try to repair or upcycle any clothes that may have damage, as this is usually much cheaper than buying brand-new items.
Stick to a Budget
When you support a large family, expenses can sometimes get away from you. Proper budgeting helps to keep the extra purchases that add up to a minimum. Budgeting correctly can save you a lot of heartache in the long run. It's up to you how much control you want to take; you can make your budget weekly or monthly, depending on how tight a ship you need to run. What's important to remember is that making the budget is only the first step—sticking to it is where you'll really need to enact some willpower.
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Sometimes there is no choice—a home needs to be sold in the winter.
Spring may be the most popular time to put your house on the market, but homes do sell in the colder months. With fewer houses available, your home may be someone's only choice when house hunting in your neighborhood. As your neighbors hold out until spring, you'll already be done and ready to shop for your next house!
Here are a few tips for selling a home in the winter to get you on the right track.
Keep Paths Safe and Landscaping Fresh
Landscaping is the last thing on a homeowner's mind in the winter. Everything was cut back in the fall and may now be covered in snow. Still, take a walk around the house and yard to check everything out. Branches may have fallen from heavy snow, leaving a mess in the yard. Keep everything neat and tidy.
The last thing you need is a potential buyer slipping on the ice-covered walk in front of your house. Buyers often consider those moments bad omens, and this can affect their decisions. Shovel, snow blow, spread salt—do whatever you have to do to keep the driveway and walking paths clear, and don't forget the porch and deck.
Make the Inside Warm and Cozy
In cold weather, buyers won't spend a lot of time examining a home's exterior. Instead, impress them with the inside by creating an atmosphere which causes them to want to move in.
When there's time, leave wintery types of snacks and drinks, such as hot cocoa and cookies, available on a table during showings. This gives your home a welcoming feel to buyers.
Light the fireplace (if you have one) for a lovely ambience and set your thermostat to a comfortable setting. A warm home in the winter is much more appealing than a chilly one.
Make Your Home Less Personal
Understandably, this can be a tough thought for homeowners. After all, you've spent years creating memories in your home. To buyers, though, they need to picture it as their own. Too much personality makes that difficult.
It's always important to stage your home in a way that makes it look clean, comfortable, and move-in ready. Don't feel offended by the idea of taking family pictures down and replacing them with generic décor. This will help your home sell faster by helping buyers envision their own things there.
Cleanliness and Maintenance
Clean, clean, and clean some more. Make appliances, counters, and floors shine. No matter how old your home is, it needs to feel like new to potential buyers. If you aren't into dusting, now is the time to try. Don't forget window coverings that might need washing.
Be prepared ahead of time for home inspections by taking care of maintenance now. HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical should all be up to code and running smoothly.
Use these tips for selling a home in the winter, exercise patience during the slower months, and your home will sell before you know it.