Let’s face it-self-denial is not exactly popular in America nowadays. Why should it? Every ad, it seems, hype a product’s ability to deliver instant results at the user’s maximum convenience. Products that require some sort of intermediate efforts on the part of the consumer is looked at with disfavor. America, it seems, is always looking for the next big thing when it comes to convenience-instant results means instant happiness.
Unfortunately, real life doesn’t work that way. The things worth having in life, whether they be a career, a great relationship, a healthy body, and, yes, a healthy well-adjusted mind, takes some time to achieve. Still, we are so immersed in a culture of convenience that this ‘give it to me now’ attitude has infected every aspect of our lives-including saving money.
Saving money used to be a fun rite of passage for many American kids. Parents would buy them piggy banks to encourage them to put something away for a rainy day. A lot of that fun, light approach to saving is now gone. It seems kids have become miniature versions of their credit card-crazy parents-they blow through cash very quickly. Telling kids to save is like trying to talk them into getting a root canal. Use the steps below to help your kids save money in a less difficult way.
Turn Saving Money Into A Game
Kids love games. If you turn saving money into a game, you’ll get their attention and keep their attention long enough for them to understand the basics of saving money. Use basic elements from games to get them started on saving and also to keep them going once they started. First, offer them a prize if they hit their major objective-to fill up their piggy bank.
Second, offer them stars or small prizes if they consistently save. Next, offer them small prizes if they hit certain amounts. Offer ‘levels’ of saving. Keep them engaged by actively monitoring the game.
Finally, make sure the duration is short enough so they don’t lose interest. Usually, one month should do. After a contest is over, start another one-this time with a longer time horizon. Keep increasing the time horizon until you have a kid or kids that can save over a two year stretch. Keep at it since you are teaching them skills they’ll need for a lifetime of success.
Saving Money Reflects On Your Character
Everything you do reflects your character. Everything you say, even the clothes you wear, everything you plan, shows off the values you think are important and the things that don’t matter as much. Why should it be any different when it comes to saving money? You might be an artistic person who likes to think you live beyond conventional confines. Still, you need to know how to save money so you can have the funds you need to support your artistic pursuits.
At its most basic, money provides a measure of peace of mind. It helps you to plan ahead. By looking at the ability to save money as part of our personal character, a little bit of ego is put into play. We don’t want to be thought of as losers, right? So if you don’t want to be judged harshly by your friends, you can use this peer pressure or shame-based pressure to push you to get you to step up your savings game.
Remember to Invest What You Saved
Finally, all the savings in the world is not going to benefit you if you don’t invest your money. Simply dumping your money at the bank will ensure that your savings’ purchasing power will erode over time thanks to inflation. Park your money at the bank but research investments that have a risk profile that matches your personality and life stage. If you are young, take a look at riskier stocks. If you are already retired, look for ‘safer’ stocks.