Personal Finance

Here’s a simple way to help teach your kids complex financial lessons

When I was in my late teens, my mother gave me two worn blue passport-sized notebooks containing the details of my investment accounts on deposit. I had no idea what to do with it, but it didn’t matter, because the accounts were empty anyway. Maybe for the best, because I’m pretty sure my assets wouldn’t have stood a chance.

I am now a mother, opened a deposit account for my 4 year old son and often think about how I can prepare him to take control of his investments in the future. If you’re looking for ways to prepare your child for investing, an experienced parent and financial experts have some ideas.

Share monetary values ​​early

Preparation starts as early as possible when it comes to teaching your kids about money, says Cristina Livadary, certified financial planner and co-founder of Mana Financial Life Design in Marina Del Rey, California. No matter how old your child is, you can start by talking openly about finances and sharing your values ​​around money.

Something I’ve started doing with my son is teaching him the value of giving, encouraging him to donate toys before buying new ones. One approach Livadary recommends for teaching money values ​​is to assign what she calls a “job description” to every dollar you give your children.

“One of my favorite things is taking the dollars and spreading them out in a way that really matches the values,” says Livadary. “So let’s say you get $3 a week – $1 to give, another dollar to save, another dollar you can spend.

See: Do you want your child to retire rich? Have the “money conversation” with them now.

Teach the basics of investing

A custodial brokerage account is an investment account opened by a parent or guardian for a minor until they reach the age of majority.

If your child has a job with taxable income, you can also help them open a custodial IRA or a Roth IRA.

One good thing about custodial accounts is that even though the kids don’t control the accounts until they reach the age of majority, you can show them what’s going on.

Michael Costello, a retired Miami-based consumer products executive and parent of three, says he prepared his now adult children to manage their custodial accounts by teaching them budgeting and saving early. It also allowed them to view their investment accounts and watch them grow, and it facilitated investment discussions with them.

“We ended up having a lot of conversations about why are you doing long-term detention? What should you watch? What are ETFs compared to common stocks? What are bonds used for? ” he says.

Teaching his children about exchange-traded funds and other assets made him confident about their access to custodial accounts at age 18.

There are many ways to teach your children the power of investing. Helping them understand what compound interest can do for every dollar they invest could motivate them to invest for the long term. If you think they’re ready to start trading, some brokers offer youth accounts that allow teenagers to start investing under parental supervision.

Read also : It might not be a total waste of time: 4 ways your kids can learn about finances through video games

Set Goals and Teach Delayed Gratification

Delayed gratification is an important adaptive skill that parents can teach children to manage custodial accounts, says Anna N’Jie-Konte, CFP and founder of Dare to Dream Planning in New York.

Since custodial accounts are brokerage accounts that can be accessed at any time, it is important that children view their investments as long-term money that can provide them with flexibility and options over time. future, she said. It might help them refrain from spending it now.

“I think one of the superpowers of people who are really financially successful and just successful is when they have the ability to say, ‘I recognize that I want this now, but it’s going to be so much better if I wait and if I continue,” she said.

But for delayed gratification to work, it’s important to have financial goals and a plan, what I didn’t have as a teenager, and why I think the investments in my custodial account wouldn’t have lasted long time. For the record, my financial plan was to become a wealthy actress and thus finance all my expenses for life.

When you set financial goals with your children, you can set both short-term and long-term goals. Why? Some people just aren’t inspired by financial goals that are too distant, says Livadary.

“Sometimes it’s buying a house in the next three years, but sometimes it’s taking a vacation…and that’s fine. It’s their version of a life they’re excited to live,” she says.

After: Teach your child the magic of capitalization

Trust the process

It’s also normal for your kids to make money mistakes — they can be teachable times, Costello says.

“You can’t hold back and cherish them, you have to give them control, they have to make mistakes, and then over time they kind of figure out how to handle the money better.”

If, despite their preparation, you think your children are not ready to manage their assets, another option is to transfer some of their assets into a trust where you can retain control beyond the age of majority.

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Elizabeth Ayoola writes for NerdWallet. Email:

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