"Out of the mouths of babes oft times come gems." I think the old saying is quite appropriate here. I asked my 8-year-old son what he thought was good advice regarding money. He immediately came up with "don't spend it on junk." He took a bit longer to come up with the other two: "store it in a bank" and "give some of it to someone else." But he did think of these on his own, without any help. I would have to say that he nailed it! I am pleased to think that at 8 years of age, he has a better understanding of personal finances than many adults do.
1. Don't Spend It On Junk
Seems obvious, right? I think he probably gets the term "junk" from the fact that whenever we are at a store, if he wants to get a cheap little toy, I tell him not to waste the money on it because it is made so inexpensively it will just break-- probably about 5 minutes after he starts playing with it. Junk. For adults, it is a bit different though, maybe we aren't spending a couple of dollars on something cheaply made and easily breakable, but maybe, just maybe, we are making unnecessary purchases. I mean, how many times have you bought something that you really didn't need? Maybe it was on sale, maybe it was even a great deal as an end-of-season clearance item, but you really didn't need it or hadn't even thought about buying it... but it was on such a good sale, you just couldn't pass it up? Sound familiar? I know I have done this before. And all those little purchases add up.
2. Store It In A Bank
While my 8-year-old has a money jar that he loves to store all his money in from birthdays and Christmas, his advice to store it in a bank is right on target. Every time you get paid, put some money aside in a savings account and 401k or IRA. A savings account will get you through the unexpected expense times, or allow funds for family vacations, or even just give you a safety net for the unforeseen life event, such as an unexpected layoff from your job. But a savings account isn't enough, you also need to store money in a retirement account. Start saving for your future NOW. The earlier you start saving, the better. The compounding effects of interest over time will greatly increase your account value.
3. Give Some Of It To Someone Else
I love that my son has a giving heart. It isn't too hard to look around to find a local church or other worthy charitable organization that could do a lot of good with a donation. Not only does someone in need benefit, but the giver gets to experience the joy of giving and making a difference. "Give, and it shall be given unto you..." Luke 6:38