Financial literacy continues to be a hot button issue across the fruited planes. From where I stand, the earlier parents start teaching their kids about money and finance (schools should be doing so, too), the better.
Stephanie Mackara, President & Principal Wealth Advisor of Charleston Investment Advisors, LLC., and author of the new book “Money Minded Families,” (Wiley; April 21, 2020) sees the issue the same way.
In her book, Mackara emphasizes financial socialization — helping families acquire knowledge about money and money management and also develop skills to help them become financially independent. Basically, “Money Minded Families” focuses on life skills for financial wellness that parents can model and teach their children.
“Every hour of every day, parents are ‘teaching’ their children about finances, among many other things, with their own behavior,” Stephanie says. “If you make a habit of spending unconsciously or irresponsibly, you run the risk not only of creating your own negative financial situation, but also of passing your financially unhealthy behavior onto your children.”
To teach kids healthy spending and saving habits that will prepare them for life, Mackara recommends practicing these financial principles:
Saving = freedom: “Many people opt out of saving when given the choice, either because they just don’t think they can afford to, or they don’t have a clear understanding of how savings will provide them with choice and freedom,” Mackara says. The solution: “Think of it not as saving, but as purchasing freedom.”
Model the behavior you want your kids to learn: “Every day brings the opportunity to show children and young adults about the simple process of spending, saving, and investing, and also to demonstrate the values that guide your choices,” she says. “Live in a place where you spend and save thoughtfully, where your behaviors and thinking about your finances contribute to your personal well-being, and where anything is possible.”
Don’t rely on government or corporations to dictate what your retirement will look like: “Our country’s financial foundation is no longer stable and the only way to fix it for ourselves and future generations is to take charge and DIY (do it yourself),” Mackara notes.
Financial literacy is no longer optional: “We must shift our thinking from allowing our children to take minimal personal responsibility and acquire limited financial knowledge, to consciously increasing the level of education our children receive relative to financial matters,” she adds. “The next few generations don’t have the luxury of waiting until age 50 or 60 to pay attention to their financial wellness and money management habits.”
“As Americans, we must become more conscious of our financial journey before, during, and after retirement,” Mackara notes. “We must work toward living a life of financial mindfulness and wellbeing in order to better enjoy our present lives as well as our future retirements.”
Find Mackara’s book on Amazon.com.