We work hard, and we want to enjoy the fruits of our labor. The temptation can be strong to spend money on extravagances for ourselves and others. But putting money aside for later means investing in our future, and it’s just smart.
While they may not be brining home the bacon on their own, it can be a great strategy to teach about money young. Not too young, obviously there’s no point in giving a baby a hundred dollar bill. Showing how to save even doubles as a math lesson. Teach them how to count with pennies, nickels and dimes! Once they’ve got the numbers right, let them keep the change. Once they’re a bit older, teaching responsible choices like saving can be valuable. Let them earn some ice cream money by helping clean up after the dogs or learning how to sweep and mop.
Save money before you’re tempted to spend it. When you get cash for your birthday, from chores, or a job, put 10 percent in a savings account. Also, put spare change to use. When emptying your pockets at the end of the day, put some of the loose change in a jar or container. At the end of the month, put it all in a savings account at the bank. Learning to save for medium and major purchases is a great life skill. Ask your parents to match your on savings for a car or for a special outing. Work part-time and put some of that money towards fun and the rest towards a rainy day.
Start saving now for long-term goals like a house, owning a business, or saving for retirement (it’s a long time off, but it’s never too early). Create a budget for yourself. It’s a good way to see where your money’s which can shape the way you spend it in the future. Get started building a good credit score by getting a credit card, spending wisely and paying it on time. Some banks offer special cards for college students or young adults, which will help you from going crazy with the spending limits.
Have a candid talk with each other about finances. Set short-term and long-term goals. Talk about buying a home. Work through a monthly budget of expenses. Discuss whether or not you’d like to have a joint bank account or keep your earnings separate. These discussions will se the foundation for savings later in life, such as how to put money into funds for future kids or save some spare change for vacations. The best policy is honesty and integrity. If you have debts from college, be clear about them up front!
All couples tackle shared expenses differently, so make sure you have plans in place.
In this phase, and we’re talking late 30s to late 50s, you should focus on retirement and your child’s college expenses (if applicable). It’s important to determine how to maximize your income during your remaining working years, so that you’re well-positioned for retirement. Do this by contributing to an IRA and/or a 401(k). Explore ways to save money for your children. Use a 529 plan or other savings account.
After you retire
Time to reap your reward: visit places you’ve never seen, take up a new hobby, or spend more time with your loved ones. Being successful in retirement means you’ve got to make the most of your income and investments. Have your Social Security benefits, pension, and other income automatically deposited into your account each month. Consider a second career or working part time to boost your retirement income. Be careful with credit cards and monitor your accounts closely.
Of course, the more you know at a young age about money the better. A lot of us parents maybe don’t think about this stuff until we get a little older and then we try to figure out as much as we can quickly. That’s why looking for a good financial advisor is such an important thing to do. There’s nothing wrong with getting help keeping track of your change.