Helping your clients educate their children about financial issues can strengthen your client relationships and increase client loyalty.
Today’s consumer-driven economy puts more pressure than ever on kids to spend money. That can make it difficult for clients to get their children to develop good financial habits.
“Advertising gives people the impression that you can be happy if you buy stuff,” says Jeannine Glista, an executive producer of the educational children’s television show Biz Kids. “There’s not enough messaging about saving.”
What kinds of tips should you give to your clients regarding talking to their kids about money? Here are five ways your clients can discuss saving and investing with their children:
1. Encourage openness
Advise your clients to bring their kids into discussions about family finances. Your clients can talk to their kids about the family’s financial goals and setbacks.
“Having small, everyday conversations helps them connect that message to the bigger picture of how it helps later on as an adult,” says Glista.
Caution clients not to burden kids with family financial issues. “They shouldn’t feel responsible,” says Robin Taub, a chartered professional accountant and financial literacy consultant in Toronto. “You don’t want to worry them with your finances. But the more open you are and the more often you talk about [money], the better kids feel about it.”
2. Keep the conversation age-appropriate
Taub recommends parents teach younger kids about money through activities such as lemonade stands and family board-game nights. She suggests “something investment-driven” that is fun and engaging.
“Learning how to count and the value of money is a first step,” adds Glista. She also encourages age-appropriate entrepreneurship for children. Glista’s daughters, for example, are making dog biscuits as part of an effort to raise funds to cover dance expenses.
3. Set an example
One of the most effective ways parents can teach their kids best practices for saving and investing, Taub says, is to act as role models for their children. “Kids are watching and listening and learning from [their parents],” Taub says. “They’re picking things up by osmosis.”
4. Save, spend, share
Parents should encourage kids to divvy up their dollars into three distinct categories: save, spend and share. This way when kids receive unexpected money, they know not to spend every dollar.
“If they get money from grandparents as a birthday gift, you ask them how much of that they want to save,” Taub says. She adds that kids can donate money they receive as a gift to charities of their choice.
5. Use everyday life as a classroom
Activities such as grocery shopping and planning birthday parties can be educational interactions for children. Encourage clients to let their small kids hold and count coins at the supermarket. They also can include children in budget planning for their birthday parties.
Children’s allowances can also be educational. “Giving [children] some of their own money is the best way to get them to understand,” Taub says. “It’s harder for them to spend money that feels like their own. It forces them to delay gratification for stuff they really want.”