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How parents can teach kids about finances from an early age

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Children should start learning about finances at an early age, and how parents teach them should depend on their age, according to a senior wealth advisor.

Paul Shelestowsky of Meridian Credit Union told CTV News Channel on Sunday that preparing kids early can help them navigate future financial challenges.

“Finances are one of the biggest stressors,” Shelestowsky said. “The sooner the children can learn about these concepts, the more prepared they’ll be to handle the stresses as well as develop some financial confidence.”

While it can be difficult keeping a child’s attention when they are aged five and younger, Shelestowsky recommends teaching in the form of games or other types of fun.

This can include playing “things like coin identification games and, when you go shopping, talking about the process of the purchases and then letting them help you find good deals,” he explained. “You want it to be engaging that age.”

Once children come up on double digits in age, Shelestowsky says it is a good time for them to learn about saving money.

“Start by bringing them to the bank or the credit union and opening them up a savings account,” he said. “Getting them to make deposits.”

Additionally, it may also be a good idea for them to learn what it feels like to acquire money for themselves, Shelestowsky said.

“It’s really at that point where they can start to maybe earn some of their own money by doing chores for an allowance,” he said. “That way they can start to learn about the relationship between money and value in work.”

Shelestowsky said this can help provide a basis for children once they start approaching their teenage years when finances begin to get more complex.

As far as maintaining a budget, Shelestowsky says it is never too early to teach children concepts around earning and spending.

“It’s all about understanding throughout your whole childhood the difference between wants and needs,” he said. “That’s a concept that people struggle with their whole lives, and having a budget in place really will show children how wants will take a backseat to needs.”

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