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6 tips on how to be a good money parent

CHILDREN of all ages - from preschool to young adults - can be taught valuable lessons from their parents. 
 
Your Money columnists David & Libby Koch have examined this topic several times in the past year, so here a collection of some of their top tips for good money parents.

1. Most children learn their money habits from observing and listening to their parents and relatives. Scary, isn't it? And those habits can often last a lifetime.

That's great if your parents were money savvy. But if they weren't then your inherited money habits could be wrong, dangerous, costly and probably all three.


2. Take them shopping and show that consumers have choices. That big brand names are often more expensive but not necessarily better.

Supermarket prices are usually more expensive at eye level on a shelf than above or below. Treat shopping like a field trip and pass on tips.

3. The big savings are made through managing the small, everyday financial decisions.

So teach adult children to ask themselves two simple questions before paying for anything: Do I really need this? Is this the best deal I can get for this product or service?

If they get into this mindset on everything from a cup of takeaway coffee to big-ticket items, such as fridges and cars, they will be amazed at how much money they'll save over the long term.

We even know of some people who, if they know they've made a saving on something, will put the difference in a jar that feeds an online savings account.

4. Lending cash, or going guarantor for an adult child, can cause heartache.

Sure, you want to be a good parent and supportive of adult children in their new venture or buying a house. However, that doesn't mean putting your entire financial future and retirement at risk.

We know people who've lent money, or went guarantor, for a child and have lost their entire retirement savings.

If a bank won't lend a child money for a business venture or a house, why should you?
Solution: Don't lend to family or friends. Simple.

5. Give children the tools to shop wisely and the confidence to negotiate on everything.

Simple tips like big brand names usually cost more and sticking to a list at the supermarket can make an enormous difference to anyone's lifetime shopping habits. In the current economic environment, most retailers know they have to be competitive and expect to be asked to sharpen their offer. It takes nothing to ask "is that your best price?" but it could save a fortune.

6. We always laugh at the outrage from our adult children when they read their first payslip and see the amount of tax taken out. All of a sudden they realise who pays for the roads, schools and hospitals.

Likewise, the first time we took them through our supermarket bill and compared it with their pocket money. It shows that day-to-day items, often taken for granted, have a value and shouldn't be wasted.
We would break down the cost of an item into how many hours they'd have to work at McDonald's (all our kids had part-time jobs there) to pay for it. The message really sank in.

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