Financial Literacy Month 2015: Exploring Delayed Gratification
by Keith Klein
Since raising children to become Financially Literate adults is ultimately our job as parents, I am publishing this series of posts on teaching financial lessons to children of different ages.
During elementary and early middle school, I have noticed that kids tend to be black and white thinkers. “Are we rich or poor,” is a common question during this time. Especially for those of us in the middle class, there is really no black and white answer. While we may be wealthy enough to have a comfortable lifestyle, we are wise enough to start early and work for college scholarships grants that will contribute to our successes later in life.
While as parents we may want to give our elementary and middle school children “everything they want,” asking kids to choose between activities, for instance, can help teach them to master the skill of delayed gratification.
Teaching your kids to save for a large purchase will make them less likely to get caught in a negative consumer debt cycle later in life. Presently, many Americans treat consumer debt, using dollars earned in the future to pay for current expense, as a normal budgetary practice rather than as a last resort.
Help your kids learn these skills by asking them to:
- Write down money goals and hold them responsible in a kind and gentle way.
- Start asking them the need vs. want question when they are pestering for a purchase. If it is a need, wait 24 hours and go back for it.
- Set small savings goals and have them experience the feeling of success when the milestone is achieved.