"It Takes A Minute to Borrow Money, But a Lifetime to Pay It Back: Common Sense Lessons For Parents To Teach Their Young Adult Children"

Parents want their children to have their best chance at success. They want their children to be schooled in every aspect of adulthood. According to a 2003 survey by VISA USA, 99% of adults believe children should learn the basics of money management before they graduate high school. Meanwhile, according to the same survey, 77% of adults state that children are learning money management skills in the “school of hard knocks”.

This shouldn’t be too surprising. A 2000 study by Charles Schwab found that the average parent would rather speak to their child about drugs, than about money.

What are the results of all the hush-hush? Today’s young people are left in the dark. Despite the world’s instability, those in the 18-25 year old group are, as always, the most optimistic. The world is their oyster. Unlike their parents however, young adults are now able to borrow money to fuel their optimistic desires. So, it’s more important now than ever that young people are taught money management skills, and who better to teach them than their parents?

To help your young adult child get started on a path to financial success, allowing you the freedom to achieve your financial goals, James Allan, author of Street Hockey Millionaire, has these tips for parents of young adult children:

1. Dedicate time to discuss money management with your child. Success often comes from setting deadlines, and time is more valuable for most people than money. Getting your child to agree to meet with you is a small step towards setting them on the path of financial awareness. Skip this step and you could be left waiting to begin the discussion until next week…which becomes next month…which becomes next year.

2. Teach them about goals. As optimistic young adults, your children are ready to embark on their dreams. Tell your children how focusing their efforts on accomplishing certain objectives will help them succeed quicker than scattering their efforts all over the place. Demonstrate how goals should align with values to give their child the most bang for the buck. Explain that you can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything. Show them how you’ve taken small steps to achieve great things in your life.

3. Help your child make the expectations realistic. Show them how your salary and net worth have increased over the years to get to the point you’re at. Compare your child’s goals for turning 30, 40, etc. with your life experiences. Share your successes and failures with them.

4. Teach them good financial habits. Show them how to budget. Young people enjoy more opportunities to spend money than ever before. Teaching them how to put aside money for what’s important and ignoring what’s not is a great learning tool. Monitoring their spending and their income will also help them in the long run. It’s amazing how little things add up. A proper budget only works if you know where the money’s going, and there’s no way to analyze the numbers if you don’t know how accurate they are.

5. Encourage your children to save money. With credit easy to get, and marketing magicians showing good reasons to buy everything, it’s more important now than ever to instill in your children the importance of spending less than they earn. A great way to get them started is to reward them for saving. For example, give them $50 for every $100 they save during their first year of work.

6. Teach them the time value of saving money. Show them how compound interest works. Explain how 72 is the magic number to get your money to double. (that is, your principal will double when the number of years you collect interest multiplied by the interest rate you’re collecting equals 72. eg. your money will double in 8 years if you’re collecting 9 %, since 8 multiplied by 9 equals 72)

7. Teach your children how to have their money work for them. Show them how their savings can multiply by investing in companies, or real estate, or by starting a business.

8. Teach them how borrowing works. Show them a typical loan payout for a 5-year loan. People are usually surprised to find out that the payment is mainly applied to the interest at the beginning of the term, and mainly to the principal at the end of the term. Explain to them the different interest rates they would have to pay for a car loan, a mortgage, a consolidation loan or a credit card. Show how paying the minimum monthly payment on a credit card will lead to never having the card paid off.

9. Teach your children about insurance. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Young adults usually feel invincible. Once they start collecting assets and property, it is a good idea to insure their belongings, especially if they have dependents.

10. Be a good example. People learn from watching their parents. You can tell them again and again how to manage money properly, but they will learn much better if they can watch you do it. Young adults don’t appreciate it now, but in 10 or 15 years, they’ll be turning into their parents.

Often the teacher gets as much out of a lesson as the intended student. Make sure you listen to your child’s concerns, as emphatically as you attempt to stress your points. Learning is often a two-way street.

Many parents see teaching their children about money as a harrowing thought. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes,” says Mr. Allan. After all, the biggest mistake of all would be to not discuss money at all with your children.

Author's Bio: 

James Allan is a writer and speaker living in Ottawa, Canada. His first book, "Street Hockey Millionaire", has sold internationally to rave reviews. Thousands of book buyers and hundreds of seminar participants discovered last year how to "Score Their Financial Goals". Find out more at www.streethockeymillionaire.com.