Financial Hardship Could Be Teaching Moment for Kids

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It would be hard to find someone who hasn’t been affected, in some way, by the economic downturn.

The coronavirus has single-handedly wiped out incomes and jobs. Economists think the United States could be headed for 20% unemployment numbers before all of this is over.

While the economic forecast is uncertain, Arlington financial planner Derrick Kinney said this is a great time to teach your children a valuable lesson.

“Keep in mind that many children are seeing their parents struggle financially,” Kinney said. “They may see mom and dad filing for unemployment. They may see them struggling to make ends meet. This is a rare time when they are actually seeing their parents having to make some critical financial decisions.”

He said there are two lessons here.

“Learning to plan and learning to save. And many adults are wishing they would have done a lot of that early on. But as I like to say we don’t want to let a crisis go by without learning all the lessons that it has to teach us,” Kinney said.

He understands it may be hard to be vulnerable and transparent with your kids, but it can do a lot of good, in his experience.

“I know if I tell my kids, dad made a mistake, I know their ears perk up. If you can share with your kids… here is something I did that I wish I wouldn’t have done, it will be a good teaching moment and likely will help prepare them financially for the rest of their lives,” Kinney said.

He added this is about age-appropriate conversations though. Teenagers and kids in college can really comprehend what’s going on and learn from what parents are or are not doing.

“It's important for all ages to understand that, just because something happens in the general economy, doesn’t mean that it has to hurt you in your personal economy. Right now, saving money and preparing the future [is key]. Just making the next payment may be the best lesson you can teach your kids, but be as vulnerable and transparent so that they can see the reality of what parents are facing today,” Kinney said.

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