Teach Kids to Avoid Debt and Invest

How do we teach our kids how to invest and how to avoid debt?  For me, this was really important because I used to be in a lot of debt, and I used to be scared to death of investing. If you feel like that, and if you're wondering, “how can I get help with that?”, come check us out at a TRADEway event.  We'll help you out. But then we still have to transfer that to the kids, right? We want to teach them this skillset. So, how do we do that?

Here's how I started. First, I let my kids get in debt. Oh, that's a horrible idea, right? No! It's actually a really good idea and here's why. First, I let my kids say, "Hey Daddy, I want this. I want that." And I said, "Okay, great. You're going to use your own money." "What?" "Yeah, use your own money." So, they'd have to work a little bit and make a little bit of money and that taught them that money was not infinite. They've got to figure out how to get more of it.

Next, we went to the store and it was time to make their purchase.  When they found out how much it was, they said, "I don't have enough Daddy." Well, guess what, I didn't just give it to them. I made them go back and work for more. It's terrible; I know. You're going to feel like a horrible parent.  But, it's going to be awesome for the kids.

Now if that's just too mean, there is an alternative. Go ahead and loan them a little bit of money, which gets them in debt.  Then make them pay you back. It's a good idea because you can control the consequences for them. It will make that kid think, "I do not like debt." My kids hate it. I made them get in debt to me once, and they despise it now. My little girl says, "I don't want debt, Daddy. I'll save up my own money." And my reply is, "Good job. Good idea."  So, this gives you a great foundation for preparing them for later in life. They can see that debt can be used to get the things they want, but they're going to have to work to get that debt paid off.

Next is investing. How do we teach them about this? First, help them set large goals. Help them set  goals that are just really way up there so that it will take them a lot of time to reach them. For my little girl, it was gymnastics equipment. She's into gymnastics, and she wanted those uneven bars that she could swing on. She loves it, so that's what we were going for. It cost $300. I said, "Maddie Grace, use your money." "It's gonna take forever, Daddy." I said, "Yeah, would you like to learn how to make it go faster?" "How?" "Well, use your money to work for more money." And she said, "How do I do that?" Now it's time to teach her stock trading. She's only nine but she's already starting to understand it.

So, if you want to teach your kids how to invest, give them those big goals that seem hard to reach and then ask them, "Do you want to reach them faster? If you want to reach your goals faster, you need a way to leverage."  This gives all kinds of opportunities to teach your kids about how to invest.

So, get them into debt and then get them into investing. Just let them experience it with you in control and making sure that they're safe the whole way. When you do that, you're a rockstar of a parent.