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Why parents should teach kids about money at an early age

November 24, 2020

By

Saumon Tahmassebi

Kids these days have access to numerous resources at their fingertips due to the presence of technology. The way they use money has completely changed. From carrying a few bucks in their back pockets to using trendy cash apps, teens and young adults are in the middle of an exponential time of growth driven largely by changing consumer trends in the financial world. 

When you are young, whether you grow up rich, poor, or anything in between, the concept of money is always present in our everyday lives. Most kids are oblivious to the factors that come into play with differences in wealth as all they know is what they see and have learned from their upbringing in that socioeconomic status. As kids grow older and gain exposure to these other communities, the different opportunities and roadblocks appear. It is at this point when kids start to assemble the questions and conversations that need to happen to advance their financial goals. 

These conversations, usually from parent to kid, can and will take many different paths. Kids will go anywhere from asking “Can I buy the new iPhone?” to “When do I have to start saving for retirement?”. It might not always be easy to sit down and talk about money with kids. Sometimes, parents do not want their kids to know how much (or little) they make. In some instances, kids aren’t even interested as they think money grows on trees. 

These conversations are crucial to have with your kids early so that they can grasp not only the value of the dollar but start to form the foundation of their financial future. That's why it is alarming that only 12% of parents set aside time to specifically discuss financial topics*. Also, to those that think money grows on trees, you're in for a rude awakening.

I am only one voice within the GenZ powerhouse but here are some of the top items that I believe are crucial for kids to know about:

  • Kids need to know how the stock market works. According to investopedia.com, the average annual return of the S&P 500 is 8%. Let’s say you invest $5,000 in the market at the age of 16 and just let it sit there. By the time your 55, you would have turned that initial investment of $5,000 to $55,000. That’s a nice sum of money for a rainy day!
  • Kids need to know how to save for retirement. Too many people spend their whole lives working brutally hard to make ends meet because they did not learn the basics of saving or the different savings avenues available to them like contributing to a 401k or opening an IRA account. Generations past have not avoided this. One in five Americans (21%) have NO retirement savings at all according to a study by Northwestern Mutual. Don't let your kids make the same mistakes as their predecessors. You have the experience, tell us where the potholes are and what we can do to avoid them. 
  • Kids need to know about Inflation. With all this money being poured into the government, it is necessary your kids to learn the concept of inflation: what it is, why it happens, and how it will affect them. Having an understanding of the external market factors that can affect our financial journeys is vital. 

The world is becoming an increasingly complex place. We are at a time in our country where the separation between the “have” and “have nots” is widening, industrial jobs are being taken over by artificial intelligence, and, to add to the complexity, a global pandemic has made us all rethink some of the processes and products that we have become accustomed to. One major result is the quickly diminishing middle class. So with the way things are going, I believe there are essentially two routes: the road to being rich or the path to being poor. That is why it is more important now than ever that kids and future generations  know how to save, spend, and manage money smartly and effectively. 

Money moves incredibly fast with the continued advancement of digital payments. With this speed comes the risk of getting into financial trouble at the same rate. With today’s technology anyone, anywhere can spend thousands at the touch of a button with very little regard to the implications that small click might have. These days kids are impulsive. Many of them make some quick money and decide to spend it all on cool shoes or new clothes. With an understanding of even the most basic of financial concepts, the reward can be big and we've seen that in the world today. Ordinary people are making millions investing in real estate and the stock market. Companies are running and ideas are being taken. We live in a country driven by innovation where resources are available to help kids achieve success. 

If there is a time for teens to be financially literate, it is now. And it is up to companies like Copper to help guide teens who are eager to learn how to save, spend and manage money so that a vision of success becomes a reality for the future.  

*https://www.slideshare.net/TRowePrice/t-rowe-price-parents-kids-money-survey

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