Written By: April Berggren-Batts
Adults feel a lot of emotions when it comes to money. Often children assimilate their feelings about money to their parents’ feelings about money. Money affects everything even if it is spoken about infrequently. As an adult, it is important to analyze how you feel about money and why. Does money stress you out? What tools and resources would you need to feel more positive about your financial situation? What financial lessons did you learn growing up from your parents that are currently impacting how you make financial decisions? Which areas are you thriving in, and which areas could use some improvement?
Once you decide which areas need improvement, utilize tools that can assist you in achieving your goals. As you are learning, have age-appropriate discussions with your child about the topics. A quick guide on which topics are age-appropriate can be found on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and MilSpouse Money Mission.
- MilSpouse Money Mission provides guidance and templates for budgets.
- PowerPay helps determine what percentage of income should go into each category.
- Tips to save money on groceries can have a major impact on the rest of the budget.
- Food Assistance Programs are available if certain criteria is met.
- Food Banks are located across America.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau teaches credit basics, how to handle identity theft, and how to attain a credit report for free.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau explains debt collection.
- Federal Trade Commission explains how to get out of debt.
- PowerPay helps organize debt and calculate how much money will be saved by using the different payment methods.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides a step-by-step toolkit to home buying.
- FINRA explains different investment products.
- Investor.gov explains the basics of investing and provides several financial calculators.
- Find out if your employer has an employer-sponsored retirement plan. If yes, find out if the employer matches contributions and what the vesting policy is.
Paying and Saving for College:
- Investor.gov explains 529 college savings plans.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau explains how to get student loans.
- College Scorecard searches and compares colleges: their fields of study, costs, admissions, results, and more.
- Career OneStop includes career options, training and education, job search planning, and local help and services.
- Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) provides education and career guidance to military spouses worldwide and oﬀers comprehensive resources and tools for all stages of career progression.
As you begin to feel more confident about money, it is likely your child will also feel more confident about money. You may be in a season of plenty or a season of need. Remember your child’s financial success isn’t determined by how much money you currently have. Keep conversations about money positive and solution-focused. Let your child see you continue to learn new financial concepts and financial tools. Even if you don’t feel confident about how you are teaching your child about money today, you can still start in the right direction and make a lifelong positive impact on your child’s financial success.
I asked parents to ask their children, how does the word money make you feel? Here are their ages and their answers. How would your child answer?
19 years: The word money makes me feel stressed sometimes because you have to work almost your entire life just to make enough to get by.
18 years: Worried.
14 years: Good.
13 years: Hmm, well I think of all the birds I could take care of with the money, and buying a car for my family.
12 years: Good, because you can buy animals.
12 years: Money doesn’t create happiness, it’s not always everything.
11 years: I don’t know.
9 years: O.k.
8 years: Happy.
7 years: It makes me happy if I have enough to buy what I want. Or sometimes I am sad if I don’t have enough for what I want to buy.