By Guest Author Jim DeGaetano – As the President of Diamond Wealth Advisors, he’s been involved with Junior Achievement, a 501(c)3 nonprofit helping communities grow through youth, education, and economic development. He’s been involved in programs that teach kids from 3rd grade to high school about money and believes that if you can be stable economically, many other things in your life are going to benefit and it helps the whole community and world. His first-ever children’s book Larry The Bunny Saves His Money is available now and debuted on Amazon as a #1 New Release!
What If I Told You There Was A Gift You Could Give Your Kids This Holiday Season That They’ll Remember AND Thank You For 20 Years From Now?
Kids’ Money Habits are Formed by age Seven
A recent report by the University of Cambridge suggested kids’ money habits are formed by age 7. When I read this, I was a little surprised at the young age. While financial literacy is not part of our national curriculum for kids, and unless one studies finance in college, they probably don’t get much public education about money until they become adults, but age 7? This hit home for me, having young kids myself. As parents, we are the first teacher in our children’s lives, so it is our obligation to pass on knowledge for them to become successful adults in society.
Parents Need to Lead Their Child to Financial Success
As President of a Wealth Management firm, I know all too well the statistic that over 80% of Americans are ill-prepared for the retirement they envision and the number one reason adults are financially successful is behavior. If that behavior was never taught at home or in the classroom, how can we expect a positive outcome? Sure, there are some wonderful non-profits and financial advisors that are ready, able, and willing to fight the cause, but if our habits are formed by age 7, and our behavior is what leads to financial success, then we must start the conversation about money early.
Jim DeGaetano Discusses Why He Wrote Larry the Bunny Saves His Money
I was looking for a book that could start the conversation about money and give them a lesson about saving it, but as a financial expert, it was alarming that there was so little out there to choose from. It was then that I decided to write a children’s book to fill the void. It’s called “ Larry The Bunny Saves His Money”. Larry is a cute bunny that gets paid in carrots each month and he was told early on “Every time you work and get your pay, save two carrots for another day”. Larry goes on to perform many normal activities of life, with the readers being able to count down the carrots and learn about money and the importance of saving it first.
Tips to Start the Money Conversation with Your Child
As I wrote the book, I devised a simple method that allows parents to start the conversation with their children. Delay it, Play It, and Say It.
The ability to save first before spending means that you are personally delaying immediate gratification for something down the road. This lesson is extremely important to teach our children and doesn’t just help with money matters. If children are given whatever they want most of their life, what do you think they will expect as adults? Teaching your children patience and restraint will help with solid money habits. A quick suggestion – the next time your child wants to play with you ‘right now’, tell them to ‘wait five minutes’. This forces patience.
Teaching something through playtime is not just a great way for them to learn but also fun and engaging. My kids have a toy kitchen set. I play the customer and they are the restaurant owners. They pick the name and the menu, and I use play money to buy the food they ‘make’. Sometimes, I don’t have enough money and cannot buy the food. This is a very good lesson for children to know that money doesn’t grow on trees and decisions must be made at times when there is not enough money. My son loves cars and trucks, so when we play, I am the toll booth operator and his vehicles must pay me before passing through. My daughter loves her Barbies and sometimes they go shopping. We act out what some of the clothing costs.
Kids can start learning about the concept of money at age three, and even reading to them about it beforehand can be helpful. Having an honest conversation about money leads to honesty with money. It’s okay to talk to your kids about why you are working, what the pizza delivery just cost, or how many hours mommy or daddy worked to pay for their most recent toy that will be disregarded quicker than I can type money.
Model the Behaviors You Want to See in Your Children
Finally, don’t forget the last piece of the pie – SHOW IT! Teaching your children about money in the methods suggested above is wonderful, but if you cannot keep your own financial house in good shape, then expecting your kids to not fall into the same habits is like telling them not to eat chocolate right before bed while you chew on a mouthful of Hershey’s chocolate bars.
It’s critical to start incorporating these lessons into children as early as possible. If you’re still not sure the best place to start, let Larry The Bunny help. It just may be the most inexpensive stocking stuffer, birthday gift, or treat that makes an impact this year!