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The Money Factor
Time and again, research has shown the influence of parents on the money habits of kids. A poll conducted by Northwestern Mutual Foundation’s financial literacy website, TheMint.org, asked teens to choose who had the biggest influence on the way that they saved or spent money. Seven out of 10 kids aged 17 and younger said “parents” swayed their actions the most, outpacing “friends” (16%), “TV, magazines, books, radio or celebrities” (14%), and “teachers” (1%). Recognizing that talk of money can make some parents a little uncomfortable, here are some easy “entry points” into the conversation:
1. When watching TV or upon seeing billboards with younger children, play devil’s advocate to the ads that bombard them in order to help make them more discriminating of what they see.
2. When shopping, talk about why you choose one product over another — describe details about value, quality, ingredients, etc.
3. Discuss the cost of living. Talk about the role of taxes in supporting the community — its schools, roads and services.
Each stage in your child’s life presents new challenges and opportunities for helping them learn to make good financial decisions. Preschool years are a good time to introduce children to a piggy bank.
Ages 7-13 might be a good time to introduce an allowance and the principles of earning and saving. High school is when it’s a good idea to increase financial responsibilities and talk about safe debt levels. As they go off to college, it’s important to explain good and bad debt and encourage the idea of “pay yourself first.”
› Article prepared by Northwestern Mutual with the cooperation of Matthew Ferrara. Matthew Ferrara is a Financial Representative with the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, The Miami Group for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. To contact Matthew Ferrara, call 305.375.7695 or email Matthew.Ferrara@NMFN.com.
“Before you can really start setting financial goals,
you need to determine where you stand financially.”
— David Bach
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