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Seven Steps to Start Your Child Off on the Right Financial Foot

When you’re a new parent, you have a lot on your plate. Between learning how to care for your child’s physical and emotional needs and adapting your life around your new family member, you’re also trying to consider their future and what you may need to do now to help get them started on the best path to success. One area that may draw your attention is their future financial security. What habits will they need to develop to have a healthy relationship with money? What steps can you take while they’re young to prepare them for the expenses of the future?

These questions can feel overwhelming, especially while you’re still adjusting to parenthood, but even simple steps can have a big impact. According to the financial experts of Kiplinger Advisor Collective, the following seven steps are a good place to start. Below, they outline each one and explain why taking each particular step will ensure your child is on the right trajectory for a successful financial future.

Become a financial role model
“Model the behavior you want your child to adopt. The way you spend, save and even talk about money will greatly influence and impact your child’s attitude toward money later in life. Set them up for success by improving your own financial values! Speaking openly and positively about money can also help shape a healthier relationship with money for your child.” — Andrea WorochWoroch Media Inc. / Andrea Woroch

Talk to them about how money works
“Talk to your kids about money from a very early age. If you don’t, they won’t understand how money works and how to manage wants vs needs. This is good for you and them! If they understand how money works, they are less likely to ask for expensive things — and when they do, they won’t continue to pester you if you say ‘no.’” — Trae BodgeTrae Bodge Media, LLC

Teach and get them involved in decisions
“Parenthood is an extraordinary journey filled with countless responsibilities, and among the most crucial is securing your child’s financial future. Opening a 529 plan as a new parent can strategically help fund your child’s education with tax advantages. If higher education isn’t their path, unused 529 funds can now be rolled into a Roth IRA for early retirement savings. Remember to also discuss responsible money habits early, maybe using an allowance or savings jars to teach saving and encourage goal-setting. Involve them in financial decisions and, when they’re a teen, consider building their credit score by adding them to your credit lines or giving them a low-limit credit card to learn credit management.” — Ramona OrtegaMy Money My Future

Set them up with life insurance coverage
“I would recommend ensuring your child has a life insurance policy in place as early as possible. Life insurance is a financial building block. Yes, you can overfund them and create tax-free wealth opportunities in the future, but I’m talking about basic life insurance without all the fancy bells and whistles. Get them covered, start the practice of financial security and build on it moving forward.” — Lyndsey MonahanWomen Inspire Wealth

Examine your own relationship with money
“Our beliefs about money are heavily influenced by our upbringing. One of the best things you can do for your child is to examine your own relationship with money. You have the opportunity to break generational patterns and avoid passing on unhelpful or limiting money beliefs. Cultivating a healthy money mindset and learning money management skills will allow you to lead by example for your child.” — Chianté JonesDollars and Change

Invest in their finances and their self-worth
“Immediately begin investing in compounding assets. The two most essential are self-worth and financial investments. The first asset compounds their human capital, creating value for society and for themself that increases their income over their life’s course. The latter allows two decades more time to compound financial education and returns. Both set a course toward better wealth and well-being.” — Dr. Preston D. CherryConcurrent Financial Planning

Open an education savings account
“Establishing a dedicated education savings account, such as a 529 plan, is a great action parents can take to ensure their child gets off on the right financial foot. A 529 plan will help alleviate the rising cost of college tuition while also providing numerous state and federal tax advantages. Parents can also use this college savings tool to teach the importance of financial responsibility.” — Greg WelbornFirst Financial Consulting

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