The Selfless Job of Motherhood: Supporting Your Child’s Financial Future at Every Age
CFP Board Consumer Advocate Advises Mothers on Instilling Children with Financial Responsibility
Mothers make all kinds of sacrifices for their families, including financial sacrifices to help and protect them, from covering countless childhood expenses to helping an older child during his or her own financial challenges. Mother’s Day is just one special day to honor her and recognize her willingness to make such financial sacrifices while also taking important steps to reduce their need.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board) Consumer Advocate Eleanor Blayney, CFP® shares ways in which mothers can improve their children’s financial situation and their own at the same time in the latest installment of CFP Board’s “Let’s Talk Planning” blog and its “Financial Planning is for Everyone” series.
“One of the greatest satisfactions of motherhood is having a child become a financially responsible adult who can stand on her own two feet,” says Blayney. “This means, paradoxically, asking moms to do more for their kids, in the way of financial education and empowerment, and less, in terms of sacrificing their own financial well-being for the sake of their children.”
Blayney provides advice for raising financially smart and prepared children of all ages:
- Preschoolers: Cultivate the early awareness of money by giving your 4 or 5 year old a small allowance. Explain that money has various uses – for spending, saving, or giving – and reinforce this concept by designating three jars or piggy banks for these purposes.
- Elementary school age and pre-teens: Open up a savings account for your child, making sure there are no account fees or minimum balances. Let your kids carry small amounts of cash so that they learn what things cost and master the mathematics of transactions.
- Teenagers: Provide an allowance for personal items and teach teens to use a budget to manage these funds. If appropriate, it’s a great time to set up a Roth IRA as a first lesson in long-term, retirement savings.
- College students and young adults: Introduce your children to your financial advisor and accountant, and ask these professionals to spend an hour or so providing some basic counsel on investing, money management, and taxes. Get your college-bound student fully engaged with the finances of higher education, including creating a contract with your child for expenses you will be financing, outlining expectations and any repayment terms.
- Adult children with kids of their own: Respect their independence and financial choices. If you offer help, consider paying for a CFP® professional to guide them out of trouble, rather than you using your own resources to make things “all better.”
“Taking action on any one of these approaches to teaching children about finances – let alone trying them at every age – involves a lot of effort and patience from already busy moms,” says Blayney. “But the benefits of financial literacy and careful planning help position both mother and child for long-term financial success.”
ABOUT LET’S TALK PLANNING
“Let’s Talk Planning” is a blog by CFP Board Consumer Advocate Eleanor Blayney, CFP®, with posts each week with practical financial planning tips for consumers, as well as insights into the latest developments at CFP Board. In addition to offering counsel on timely and evergreen financial planning topics, once a month Blayney will remind readers that “financial planning is for everyone,” with tips for consumers of all ages and life stages.