How to Get Your Millennial Kids to Finally Leave the Nest, Revealed
Rupa Krishnan has worked in finance for nearly two decades and has real-world experience in the form of her own millennial kids. She is a business school graduate, a former MasterCard digital platform employee, and is currently head of product at Betterment for Business.
Krishnan gave insider information to The Cheat Sheet on how to prepare your kids for early financial independence — regardless of the fluctuating economy. Plus, how you can finally get them out of the house and off your bills sooner (page 5).
1. Young children learn by example, so set a good one
Your young children (ages 2 through 6) follow you almost everywhere out of necessity. Rather than stick them with a babysitter or older sibling when you run your errands, take them with you — especially to the bank. “Spend two minutes talking to them just about what a bank is so that they can identify the institution,” Krishnan recommends.
Use outings like the grocery store to give your young children the receipt. It will help them as they learn to read as well as recognize that the food they eat comes from somewhere and costs something.
Next: This age is a tough time to teach
2. Don’t just give away money without explanation to middle schoolers
If you choose to give your preteens an allowance, Krishnan recommends you make up-front rules. “Tell them what it is, why you’re giving it to them, and that you expect them to be wise about it … don’t let it become an afterthought or something negotiable.”
When you take your kids back to school shopping, use it as an opportunity to teach them how to prioritize so they make the most of their allotted money. “Kids see parents swipe credit cards and think of it as this unlimited pool of money. It’s up to the parents to teach them the before and after,” Krishnan said.
Next: This is part 1 in a two-part high school plan
3. Remind them the value of investing and saving
High school is a huge growth period for your kids; physically, mentally, and financially. Krishnan emphasizes the importance of teaching your kids about personal finance or enrolling them in a finance elective if their school offers it.
Teach them how to invest their money and put it away. Have them help you pay your credit card bills. “Look at how the charge appears, the balance due date, and the minimum amount due … if you aren’t doing this in high school you’re doing your kids a disservice,” Krishnan said.
Next: High school is a great time for your kids to first learn the responsibility of a part-time job.
4. Weigh an internship and a job
If your kids are struggling to choose between an internship that will offer them long-term job potential and a job which will offer them short-term cash, sit down and weigh the pros and cons with them. “Teach them the benefits of entrepreneurship and working for yourself — for example, could they tutor or babysit rather than commute to an unpaid internship?” Krishnan said.
Remind them the cost to commute and the trade-offs they’ll make working for free if they choose an internship. “This is the perfect time to talk about why they’re going to college. Have them envision their adult life and how a job or internship fits into it.”
5. College — where finances get tricky
Most parents dream of sending their kids to a great school free of the burden of loans and rent payments. However, for most American families, that dream isn’t a reality. Regardless of how much financial support you’re able to offer your kids in college, it’s still a teaching opportunity for how they can support themselves.
“I encourage college-aged students to work through school … It shows how long you have to work to get a reward,” Krishnan said. She recommended college students get a debit card so that they can see the consequences of overdrawing their account (fees).
6. How to help yourself longterm
Krishnan outlined a few helpful ways you can set yourself and your kids up for early financial independence. First, make money management as important a life skill as math, reading, and writing. All schools teach crucial subjects, but few offer finance classes that teach kids to manage their own money.
Second, recognize that it is the parent’s responsibility to teach their kids how to create, preserve, and wisely spend money. Last, but not least, trust that what you’re doing for your kids is the right thing. “Even if they’re angry about it in the beginning, it will be worth it in the end,” Krishnan said.
Next: If you equip yourself with the right resources you’ll be better prepared to teach
7. Don’t forget to prepare your resources
Krishnan recommended two books you give your kids so they can read about independent wealth on their own time. Jim Collins wrote a book based on his blog. The Simple Path to Wealth: Your roadmap to financial independence and a rich, free life culminates Collins’s thoughts derived from raising his teenage daughter.
She also recommends I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. Krishnan calls it a “more actionable book for people in their 20s and starting out in their careers … I recommend it for parents too, to get children ready for independence.”
Next: Everything about the expert
8. More about Rupa Krishnan
Rupa Krishnan grew up in India and moved to the U.S. in 2000. She first worked through business school when she started a company with just her husband in their basement. As she worked her way up in finance — she was an early member of MasterCard’s first digital platform — she truly learned the ins and outs of successful personal finance for herself and her clients.
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