5 tips to teach your kids about money

As sons of a financial expert, the Yih boys learn to save money using piggy banks and bank accounts. Global News

EDMONTON — Canadians’ household debt has once again hit record levels. For every $1 we earn, we’re saddled with $1.64 in debt. That has many parents wondering how to make sure their own kids don’t make the same mistakes.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade is a money author and TV personality. We caught up with her to find out her tips for raising money masters.

As parents, it’s your job

It isn’t up to teachers to educate your kids about money; fiscal management belongs in the home.

“The objection I usually get to that is, ‘Well, as parents we don’t know enough about managing our own money so we don’t feel we’re in any position to teach our children,'” Vaz-Oxlade explains. “And I say ‘Well, get a grip because if you want your children to have a better life, figuring your own money out is not such a bad thing!'”

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Use daily errands as teachable moments

As parents, you are in the perfect position to teach your kids about money because you are with them in places where transactions happen like the grocery store, mall and bank.

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“These are all prime opportunities to teach lessons,” Vaz-Oxlade says. “Even going to the banking machine; you want to teach a little lesson about the fact that, ‘The machine isn’t giving me this money, baby. You know how hard mommy works? Well, when mommy works the money goes into the bank and the machine is just giving mommy’s money back to her.'”

Don’t tie their allowance to chores

“Who pays you to empty the dishwasher?” Vaz-Oxlade asks. “No one.”

The money author says if you want your children to earn money by doing jobs, create a “job jar” that is separate from an allowance and involves work outside of typical household chores. Washing the car would fit into that category.

“Or in my house,” she adds, “I’m not going to clean the kitty litter. If you will clean the kitty litter, I will happily pay you for that.”

Watch below: When should you start teaching your kids about money?

Click to play video: 'Family Matters: Tips on teaching kids about money'
Family Matters: Tips on teaching kids about money

Empower your kids

The purpose of an allowance is to put the money you normally spend into your kids’ hands, so they can learn to manage it.

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“You want to use the allowance system so that the kids have a sense of what has to be saved, how to plan their spending, sharing a little bit with somebody that’s less fortunate,” Vaz-Oxlade says. “Those are the important lessons to teach.”

Don’t be afraid to negotiate

If your child wants something like a cell phone and you feel they need one, meet in the middle.

You say, ‘Okay, I will pay for this plan but if you want anything above that you need to make enough money to cover the cost,” Vaz-Oxlade explains.

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