Talk to your children about money! I see articles on this all the time - tell your kids to start early and save often. Don't get me wrong, this is great advice. Instead of just talking about money with your kids, here's a way to actively demonstrate the benefits of saving early - one that will stay with them the rest of their lives.
Do you pay your children an allowance? A working wage for helping with chores around the house, raking leaves, and so on? Tell your child that each time you pay him or her, 25% of their allowance or wages will go into a "retirement fund" that you will then invest in a growth mutual fund or index fund. Let them pick the investments - with your help, of course. Choosing a fund that owns Disney or the maker of their favorite breakfast cereal will help your child have a personal connection to their investment, and make it easier for them understand how different securities, such as mutual funds and individual stocks work.
Here's a part that I think is pretty cool - explain to your children that while the money is theirs, they cannot touch it until they reach age 21 - their "retirement" from being a kid. Aside from having some money set aside to buy their first home or car, you'll have instilled a few important lessons in them.
- The importance of always saving a percentage of their earnings. Having enough to retire is a major concern for those over the age of 50. If your child grew up saving a percentage of their income, they'll be more likely to continue saving a large percentage of their income once they begin their career.
- Demonstrate the power of not just saving, but investing. Over 15 or 20 years of their childhood, there's a good chance that an investment in a growth mutual fund or index fund will more than double. Many wait to join a 401(k) or retirement plan at their first job, thinking they will do it once they've got the money. Your child will be the exception - and won't wait to start.
- Increased literacy when choosing funds to invest in for their retirement. Choosing the right mutual funds can seem like reading a foreign language - but your son or daughter will already be familiar with how to choose investment options that are right for them.
- Time spent with your child - sit down with Johnny or Sally every six months and tell them how they're doing - did they make money? Why or why not? You can always ask your financial advisor to speak to your kids as well - to provide another perspective and answer any questions.
The days of working 30 years for a single company and retiring with a pension are headed the way of the Dodo. Do your kids a favor - don't just talk about money - show them.
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).