As a parent, you want to set your child up for financial success. We don’t learn about money unless someone teaches us, and even if you don’t explicitly have educational conversations about money with your kids, they’ll still learn about money from the habits and behaviors you model for them.
If you’ve set up a joint account with your child, you’re probably in the habit of monitoring their spending regularly through services like email or text alerts for their purchases. How else are you supposed to keep track of whether or not they’re making smart financial decisions? But this brings us to what we’d consider the #1 rule of tracking your child’s spending:
Let them make mistakes.
Yes, you read correctly. Making mistakes is a crucial part of the learning process. You can give them advice until the cows come home, but that doesn’t mean they’ll listen. Learning lessons firsthand through experience is one of the best ways to get something to stick. Keep that in mind when the impulse to control your kids’ finances comes up. If you think they’re going to make a grave, extremely expensive mistake, then intervening is okay. If it’s a mistake that will frustrate them and prompt learning, let it happen. It’s hard to watch your child make mistakes, we know. But it’s necessary for growth!
Whatever you do, having open and honest discussions about your child’s spending is a key aspect to this education process as well. Avoiding financial discussions is unproductive. Instead, if you see a concerning spending trend or habit your child is developing, bring it up. Talk through your concerns, ask questions about their behaviors, and listen to their perspective. Just because they’re a kid doesn’t mean they’re wrong or their feelings are invalid. You can listen, teach, and have respectful, productive conversations. It takes a little bit of practice, but we have total faith in you!
If you need additional assistance, never hesitate to reach out to your financial institution for help and advice.
Categories: Financial Planning