As a grandparent, you have surely reflected on the knowledge you hope to pass on to your grandchildren. Likely, this consists of core values, family history, and, perhaps, career planning. If money management makes your list, you are among the minority, even though there are few better ways to ensure your loved ones lead happy, secure lives. Financial wellbeing, after all, creates space for life’s greatest joys, and its opposite—financial anxiety—can easily provoke a cascade of difficulties. Below are three basics of financial management even a child can come to appreciate.
This may seem obvious to the point of absurdity, but there are many adults who have never learned to save. Instilling this value in grandchildren involves not only having a conversation, but following up with practical teaching. If your grandchild receives an allowance, for instance, you might match their savings in the same way an employer is likely to do with a 401(k) plan. Once they are a little bit older and graduate to having a part-time job, you might prompt them to contribute to a Roth IRA. With earned income, this avenue opens up and, in so doing, dramatically increases their ability to save.
People say money doesn’t grow on trees, but—while true—compound interest sometimes makes it seem as if it does. Teaching your grandchild the importance of keeping fees low and buying broad index funds might seem like too much, but as they grow this becomes invaluable knowledge. A simple, rewarding approach once they reach adolescence is to buy them a low-cost index fund in a custodial account such that they might experience the pleasure of a surging market. Be sure to explain the importance of staying the course or buying more as the market dips and hopefully they will take this to heart as they reach adulthood and begin investing significant sums of their own.
Lastly, encourage your grandchild to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Whether for a rainy day or a long-awaited purchase, the purpose of good money management is future enjoyment. Brainstorm an exciting item your grandchild might want to buy and then take them on a bargain hunt. They might see something at a store they are especially excited about; while there, whip out your smartphone and do a quick search for a lower price. Teach them that buying at a bargain is another way to save and instill in them the pleasure of anticipation as they wait for the item to arrive in the mail.
Finally, as an addendum to all of the above, pass on the social value of charitable spending. In so doing, you foster altruism and compassion for the less fortunate. After all, as Uncle Ben of Spider Man fame states, “with great power, comes great responsibility.”
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Teaching your grandchildren the importance of saving, investing, spending, and philanthropy is important. Protecting your own assets so you can continue to spoil your grandchildren after you’re done is also important—and we can help. Complete the form below to contact our Cleveland area estate planning law firm.