It's never too early to start teaching your kids how to handle their money.
In fact, it's an especially important topic to teach your kids at home. While most high schools require students to take macroeconmics, classes like personal finance are rarely required or even available.
So, you can't really rely on the schools for this life lesson. It's up to you to show your children how to spend their money wisely, how to avoid crippling debt, and how to make sound investments.
The following four money lessons will help your kids grow into financially responsible adults:
1. Tie allowance to chores
Who knows? Maybe your kid will grow up to be a lottery winner and won't need to work to provide them the funds they need to pay all their bills.
But, more likely, they will need to work to afford goods and services. To prepare them for this mindset early on, never give your kids allowance just for the sake of giving them an allowance. Instead, make them earn it by taking out the trash, mowing the lawn, etc.
It's also wise to assign a dollar value to each individual chore and allow your kids to make more money in a given week by doing more chores. Doling out more rewards for harder work will help instill in your children the initiative they'll need to rise through the ranks of a company later on in life.
2. Keep savings in site
A piggy bank is cute, but it makes the amount of money your kid is saving up a total mystery. Let your child see exaclty how much is in their little money jar. Empty out a big mason jar or other transparent container and put it in a place your child sees daily.
3. Get them a bank account
Once your child becomes a teenager, it's time to graduate from that mason jar to an actual bank account. The earlier kids understand how banking works, the more savvy they'll be with finances in the future.
4. Teach by example
If you're up to your eyeballs in debt and blow through hundreds of dollars a week on unnecessary expenses, it's going to be all but impossible to teach your child to to be financially responsible.
The best way to get your kids to do what you want them to do is to teach by example. Live within your means, stay on top of your credit, and do extensive research before you make a major purchase. There's a good chance your kids will do the same when they're older.
Teaching your kids these four lessons as they grow up will save you (and them!) some serious financial headaches in the future...you might even raise the next Warren Buffet! At the very least, you'll produce someone who can manage their finances and live comfortably.
Troy Martin is a shareholder at Cook Martin Poulson, a Utah Accounting Firm. He has a vast amount of experience in the following business sectors: medical, dental, manufacturing, retail, restaurants, construction, farming and ranching.