Maintaining Family Financial Fitness
Everyone desires to have a harmonious family life; but life can often be unexpected and the unexpected causes stress in family life. One of the things that can frustrate a stressful situation is poor finances. Having financial fitness is a way that families can avoid unnecessary stress. Financial fitness is a family affair; all members of the family can and should participate in ways to keep the family finances healthy.
One of the hardest parts of having a family is saying no on the extras. There have been many conflicts in the aisles of stores because a parent says no and a child throws a tantrum about not getting what they want. Many adults feel that children are unable to understand finances; however, teaching children simple ways to save money can help avoid these unnecessary and embarrassing moments. Try to explain the concept of money to your children, a perfect time to start is when children are learning to count. A favorite resource is the good old fashioned piggy bank. By teaching your child to save at an early age, you are establishing positive financial practices that will last a lifetime. If each time you go into a store your child wants you to buy something, having them use money from his or her piggy bank is a great way to teach them the value of money. This is a wonderful exercise to begin to include your children in financial decisions.
You do not need to be a financial advisor to teach your children about finances; remember, this is simply a way to improve family life. This does not mean that your thirteen year old will call the bank and find lower mortgage rates; however, you can say that to go on vacation, you cannot buy three video games at fifty dollars each. Inform your children, especially as they approach teenage years, exactly how much certain things cost. Most children when they first go away to college get their first credit card and have problems with spending it all too fast and keeping a high balance. Inform your teens of the dangers, responsibilities, and advantages of credit. Making them aware how credit can affect their lives will save them money in the future. Keep your lessons simple and remember that depending on the age of your child, there is only so much they will understand. A six year old will most likely not understand interest rates, but teenagers will soon learn about interest rates, so be the first to explain it to them.
To keep a financially fit family you do not need to share the bad with your children, but you want them to have a realistic expectation of what money is and how it is good and can be bad if not properly managed. By teaching children how to use money responsibly, you lower your stress of overextending the family financially. Maintaining family financial fitness does not have to be a difficult job. Once you establish the basics, every member in your family plays an important role.