Money tips work for all ages

Managing money in today's world.

Proper understanding of finances should start at an early age. Youth are taught how to tie their shoes, ride a bike and drive a car,  but an added learning how to should be managing their money.  According to the 2013 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey, parents top the list for teaching their children about money management. Over 78 percent of the respondents agree that they could benefit from professionals’ additional advice.

Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Programs have many resources available to work with families on money management education.

It is not too early to sit down with your child and talk about money, especially if they get money for birthdays, special days or when they get a paying job.  The following tips can make great family discussion topics:

  1. Pay yourself first –  Put a portion of your gift of money into a savings or investment account.  This is a strategy from most financial advisors.  Once you get in the habit of doing this, then later on the small sums turn into large sums and you can pay cash for really important items. It is so easy these days to see the word “sale” and think you can buy the item and save some money. But another tip is to “think before you buy.” Ask yourself , “Do I really need this item or is it just a ‘want’ item?”
  2. Keep track of your spending. This is done by doing a budget and sticking to it.  Easier said then done when you see items on sale or think you really need something.
  3. Think before you buy.  Discuss the value you are getting before you purchase the item.  Quick purchasing decisions could be costly later on.  This is a great place for the needs and wants discussion.
  4. Credit  and Debit Cards – Under most state laws, you must be at least 18 years old to obtain your own credit card.  Being responsible enough to have a credit card means paying it off monthly and not letting the interest rates take over.  This is a convenience, but realistically are you keeping track of the expenses you make?
  5. Protecting yourself  - whether you have a checking account, credit card or other means of saving money, identity theft needs to be kept in mind.  With emails, internet and technology these days, awareness of suspicious requests for your name and other identification are very important.
  6. College bound – be smart with your decision making skills when considering college expenses such as housing, books, fees, tuition, location and career path.  Consult with counselors when the time comes.  For more information in this area visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/redirects/students-gov.

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