Unfortunately, as adults, we learn more about money after the mistake is made. We often find ourselves saying, “Why didn’t I learn this in school?” or “I wish someone would have taught me this at a younger age.” We sometimes find ourselves blaming the school system, but in order for the black community to build wealth, WE must depend on ourselves. Financial education starts at home, and as a community, we must uplift and educate our children. Changing the financial legacy of our families starts with YOU.
If you are not the wealthiest person walking, it is perfectly fine. It is OK if you have debt; it is even OK if you are not able to save a lot of money. You do not need to be a Certified Financial Planner to educate our youth. Yes, there is always room for improvement, and that, I know, you will soon experience. However, here are three easy ways to teach your children about money.
1. Take Your Child to the Bank Once a Month
If you have a bank account, your child should too. If you have deposited money into your account (whether it’s direct deposit or manually), your child should too. Some parents open bank accounts for their children but fail to involve them in the process. Allow your child to learn by doing.
Once a month, bring your youngster to the bank to make a deposit or a withdrawal. Something small like $10, may not seem like a lot to you, but it could mean the world to a child. Give them a tour of the bank. Let them know what goes on in the bank, and how they play a part in it all. Allow your child to visit the teller and make his or her own deposit. It makes their experience with money real, and they will have a better understanding of money as they get older.
2. Allow Your Child to Help You Pay Bills
When we were younger, we knew Mommy and Daddy paid bills but did we really know ALL the bills they had to pay? We knew Mommy and Daddy went to work, but we didn’t know all their monetary responsibilities. When you’re younger, you really have no idea how many bills you are responsible for as an adult.
Allow your child to get a better understanding of their potential tasks as an adult. Show them how you plan your money, and share the dates your bills are due. Choose a bill that you always pay on time and show them the process of making a payment. You will be surprised at how well kids work technology in this day and age. It could save you some time, and it will better prepare them for what’s to come.
3. Buy Stock for Your Children During the Holidays and For Their Birthdays
During a time when our community is being the consumer, teach your child how to be the owner. Let them know that it is acceptable to spend money, but building wealth requires them to keep and invest their money. Buying stock in a company doesn’t have to cost you millions of dollars. There are brokerage accounts that do not require a minimum balance, and there are many companies whose shares cost less than $100.
If your child turns six, on their birthday, why not buy them six shares of their favorite toy company? What about their favorite social media, favorite clothing store, favorite game company, or their favorite computer device? As we spend our money with these companies, we are continuing to help them stay rich. By investing in stock, we are helping our offspring to become rich. Empowering our children is teaching them more than just math and reading skills. It is about teaching them the skill sets that can financially strengthen the black community.
By implementing these small steps, you are instilling a value system. How we value money is how our children will value money. What we teach our children is what they will teach their children. If our children see us invest, they will invest. Financial habits are passed down just like skin tone, eye color, and body features. The legacy that we leave our children, whether it is money, investments, real estate, etc., is what they will continue to leave for their families. Although our monetary situations may not be the best, that doesn’t mean our children don’t deserve the financial best. We are creating a cycle of change, and remember the change starts with YOU!
Ashley M. Fox is a former Wall Street analyst, a Howard University grad, and she is now an expert in her field as a Financial Education Specialist. She is the founder of Empify (merging of the words EMPower and modIFY), an education-based organization created to help both adults and children understand financial literacy. Since leaving her Wall Street career, Ashley has become an award-winning financial coach who has helped her clients collectively save and invest over $1.4 million. She is a highly sought-after speaker who has been featured on empowerment tours, college campuses, and keynote speaking platforms. She has been featured on Jim Cramer’s “The Street”, Yahoo Finance, AOL, Rolling Out Magazine, Huffington Post, and Glamour Magazine.