Ages 0-2: Financial Readiness
Use Money Well as a Family
• Financial management can be overwhelming. There are so many aspects to it, and it’s easy to feel inept about money matters. Focus on what you know and build on that. Get sound money advice from ParentFurther or from Bank It.
• Be patient with your financial situation. When you start having kids, you can be surprised at how your budget can radically change and how expensive it is to raise a family. Start visiting thrift shops. Ask friends for hand-me- down clothes for your kids. Many people are willing to help out.
• Talk about money as a family. Don’t let it get to be a major source of tension.
• Ask other families and adults for money tips. Some families with multiple children have become quite savvy about using money well.
• Don’t get in over your head. With starting a family, it may seem that you need a new home, a new car, a new everything. Resist the temptation. Save and move slowly with your financial decisions.
Save Money Well as a Family
• See if your employer has ways to save for retirement or has a flexible benefits plan for child care costs and/or medical costs. All these can help you save money.
• Set money aside each time your paycheck comes in. Save first. Then pay your bills. (If you switch the order, you’ll never have money left over to save.)
• Create savings goals. It’s easier to save if you know something concrete that you’re saving for.
• Make savings goals easy to reach. You want to make savings something that feels doable and easy. Then as you reach your savings goals, make longer savings goals.
• Open up a separate savings account. It’s easier to save if the money is in a separate account.
Give Money Well as a Family
• Give money as a family. The giving habits you start now will make a big difference as your child grows and sees how you give money.
• Figure out which causes you care most about. Is it helping the poor? Helping the environment? Helping the sick? You’re more likely to give money to causes that you truly care about.
• Decide how you’ll respond when someone asks for money for a worthy cause—before they ask for it. Consider writing a check (so that you have a record for tax time). Consider giving a certain amount (such as $5 or $10). That way you won’t be swayed by someone who tries to get you to give more.
• Include charitable giving as one of the categories in your budget.
• Learn more about the charities you care about by visiting one of the major online charity review organizations, such as Charity Navigator at www.charitynavigator.org and GuideStar at www.guidestar.org.