It’s important for your grandchildren to start building their “money-awareness” at an early age. Since schools generally don’t teach financial literacy and parents often don’t have the time or energy to discuss these matters with their kids, you can play a key role in helping your grandchildren become smarter about money. With younger children, help them understand how much of their parents’ paychecks are spent on food, clothes, mortgage payments and home repairs and taxes. Visit online retailers with them so they can see the costs of the clothes, books and toys they own or want for the holidays. Give them odd jobs that put extra money in their pockets and help them figure out how much of their earnings to reserve for saving, spending, investing and charity. For teenagers and college students, help them learn how to keep debit card spending from spiraling out of control and avoid getting trapped in credit card debt. This is also a good time to teach them the basics of investing by offering inexpensive ways for them to enter the stock market.
A variety of online tools are available to help your grandchildren become smarter money managers. They include:
- Acorns.com lets you set up investment accounts for your grandchildren that can be partially funded with spare change from family purchases.
- Stockpile.com offers an inexpensive way for your grandchildren to learn about investing by letting them purchase fractional shares of stocks and ETFs.
- Visa Buxx debit cards allow parents and grandparents to load money onto prepaid debit cards for their high school and college kids and monitor their spending activities.
- Moneysavvy.com offers a variety of piggy banks with separate “save,” “invest,” “spend” and “donate” chambers.