April is National Financial Literacy Month and April 9th-16th is Smart Money Week. Both provide opportunities to address the importance of money management and financial literacy.

Talking about finances is difficult. Financial problems are among the top reasons why relationships fail. Yet, for those who experience hardships due to gambling, it is imperative that these discussions occur sooner than later given the magnitude of losses and impacts. Unlike substance abusers, disordered gamblers do not have a saturation point, so they can continue the behavior despite mounting consequences.

While financial literacy is of importance among adults, it is equally essential to educate young children, as early as pre-school age, about managing money properly. Setting examples and modeling behaviors on how to make decisions demonstrate to children how smart money determinations are made. Children mimic what they see and hear, so if you are consistently using credit cards or are borrowing money to pay for various purchases or household bills, and/or are arguing with loved ones and others about finances, these are all behavioral cues to minors. If you pay bills online or elsewhere, demonstrate how and why you choose to do it this way, so children understand.

Using some basic guidelines will enable adults to teach children about financial literacy [1]. This is vital given the effects of the pandemic, which has resulted in lost income in many families:

  • Explain where money comes from.
  • Designate three clear jars for your child to SHARE, SPEND or SAVE [2]. Having visual cues will help children to see the money growing, or shrinking, pending on deposits and withdrawals made. Encourage saving. (Note: Older children can have a bank account opened. As they age, increase oversight responsibilities, and monitor performance.)
  • If paying children an allowance, be sure it relates to responsibilities performed, so they recognize money is earned and how they are contributing to the household. Educate kids about ways to earn money.
  • Discourage impulse buying, explaining they do not allow the time necessary to make informed purchases.
  • Stress the importance of sharing and giving and when they might be appropriate. While compulsive gamblers and loved ones often do not have money to spare, donating or sharing, even a little, will reveal how vital these concepts are to self and others.
  • Encourage your children to be independent and mindful critical thinkers who appreciate what they have and do not base decisions on what others may own.
  • When a child expresses a desire for an item or something that costs money, have them remove this money from the appropriate jar/account. This will help them to see the transaction and understand, which are the benefits. 
  • Help minors to distinguish between wants and needs. Also, be sure to raise awareness about weighing options.
  • Educate youth about the potential benefits and short and long-term impacts of student and other loans from banks or elsewhere.         
  • Outline the dangers of credit cards and cashless transactions when not used wisely. When paying via credit or debit, explain why you are doing so and how you intend to pay the money back.
  • Prepare a budget with your child and help them to understand how to manage their money appropriately.

For fun ideas, check out the interview with prominent author and financial journalist, Beth Kobliner:  

Remember, if you do not teach your children about responsible money management, others will influence their decision-making process.

For assistance with money difficulties or other problems caused by gambling, call 888-ADMIT-IT (888-236-4848), text (321-978-0555), email (fccg@gamblinghelp.org), live chat (gamblinghelp.org), tap into the 888-ADMIT-IT App (https://landing.appypie.com/888-admit-it), or reach out on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. The FCCG has a breadth of practical resources for gamblers and loved ones addressing financial and other difficulties related to problem gambling.

Citations:

  1. PBS News Hour (2017). Making Sense: Penny Wise. Retrieved The best ways to teach your little kids about money – YouTube.
  2. Ibid.