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8 Things Regarding Money You Can Teach Your Children This Holiday Season

We all want our children to be responsible with money and are always ready to impart our words of wisdom, but what are we teaching them by example? Have you ever stopped to consider the impact of your financial habits on your children? The holidays are a great time to teach children a few very important principals about money. Use the pointers below to teach your children fundamental values surrounding money.

1. Do not engage in emotional shopping even during the holiday season– Shopping to soothe feelings, appease relatives or until you are financially exhausted is only productive in extreme cases and if you are shopping with a cash budget. Using a credit card to fund a shopping spree can cause undue hardship in the future and sets a poor example for children. How, do you ask? While children see a parent shop for whatever they desire using a credit card; they often do not see the credit card bill arrive or are they able to appreciate the time it takes for the parent to earn the money needed to repay the debt. Show your children instead that you are shopping with a budget and stick to it.

2. Teach children the value of their time and companionship- Many senior citizen homes, hospital wards and other community programs welcome volunteers to assist in various aspects of the day to day functions of the facility. Visit one of the centers as a family, or even gather a group of friends and their families, to teach children the value of their time, compassion, empathy and respect. Values that they will surely carry into their future.

3. Earn instead of spend during the holidays – Encourage every member of your family to earn extra money for the holiday season in order to cover the cost of gifts. Brainstorm and identify activities that each member of your family can perform to contribute to the holiday budget. Even young children can be included in this activity. Explain that the money they contribute goes to a gift they would like to buy for someone special, like a grandparent, sibling, teacher or friend, and let them choose a gift to purchase. Teach them that the harder they work, the more they will earn and in turn the more they will have to spend.

4. Teach them charity and the joy of gifting – Help your children learn that gifting can feel more rewarding than receiving. As a family donate a percentage of the holiday budget to charity. You can vote as a family to decide which charity to make the donation to. You may even consider helping someone who you know to be in need, anonymously. Do it from your heart and show your children how great a feeling you can get from doing selfless acts of kindness. Encourage children to share their feelings and come up with other ways to serve their communities all year long.

5. Spend responsibly – Fore-go buying a real tree year after year. Instead invest in a “looks like the real thing” Christmas tree. Artificial trees are good for the environment and for your holiday budget. A fraction of the money you save each year can go to buying new ornaments or towards the family charity budget. Just imagine the thousands of trees that will be spared year after year by families choosing to purchase an artificial tree.

6. Shop wisely- Shop with value for dollar in mind at all times. When possible ask for discounts from managers and customer service departments. Using cash back or reward point’s credit / debit cards are a good way to make your spending work for you. Shop online for comparative pricing options.

7. A budget is a life saver during celebrations – No matter what emergency arises; stay within your budget. Portions and seating can always be worked out; however, lack of funding cannot. While it may not seem to be all that fun during the holiday season to take such frugal measures, it can prevent a great deal of stress in the months to come.

8. Do not fund celebrations with credit cards – Credit cards can be the beginning of a financial death, if consumers are not careful. Realistically, if you have to pay for a party with a credit card, should you really be paying for a party? If you still want to host a celebration, consider making it a potluck dinner where guests can each bring a dish or something to contribute. You may be surprised as to how many of your friends and family may be receptive to the idea.

Teaching children financial restraint during the holiday season can lead to a lifetime of responsible financial planning. Encouraging children to understand the value of money and the fact that money must be earned is a gift far greater than any toy.

Are you taking care of your loved ones? Do you have a will?

It is the holiday season and therefore also the perfect time to ensure that your loved ones are safe and well cared for now and in the future. Have you thought about drawing up a will? Are you surprised at the suggestion? Don't be. In todays, society there are thousands of ways in which one can meet an early demise; sad, even a little ominous, but true. The fact is that bad things happen and they do not wait for the “right time" to happen. By drawing up a will you will ensure that your loved ones are cared for if, for whatever reason, you are unable to care for them.

10 Pertinent Reasons to Ensure That You’re Will Is Up To Date

1. You will be able to decide who gets what- When people die intestate, the decision as to who gets what is left in the hands of the court system. In such a case, all of your children and spouse will receive an equal share of your property. Drawing up a will allows you the ability to choose how much you want to bequest to each individual.

2. Step children will be included in the property division-Unless they are legally adopted, the step children are not recognized by the courts as having legal stake in the stepparents estate. This is quite an unfortunate circumstance; as many times step children become as dear as one's own. Many parents would be heartbroken to learn that the children, they once care for, have been pushed aside.

3. Your spouse will get as much as he/ she needs of your property- Since the law distributes the property equally, sometimes the surviving spouse is left with insufficient funds to care for themselves in the manner to which they are accustomed. A will allows you to protect your surviving spouses’ interest.

4. You will ensure that your minor children are brought up as you saw fit and by whom you saw fit- When minor children are involved and there are no surviving parents, the courts favor assigning guardianship to grandparents. You may feel that someone else is better equipped to care for your children; however, without a will the courts will have no way of knowing your wishes and/ or reservations.

5. You can ensure that your favorite items go to whom you feel is best-Everyone has something that they love and would like to leave to someone. That someone may not always be family. The only way to guarantee that these individuals are not left out is by specifying your wishes in a will. The courts will not recognize individuals which are not blood related as having a claim to your estate, not matter how long they knew you or how intimate the relationship was.

6. Someone you intended to thank will never know your gratitude – There may be many people in your life to which you are appreciative for their love and support. A will allows you to designate a value to your appreciation and even a chance to give a word of thanks post- mortem.

7. You can exclude unwanted individuals from your estate – Just as there are people whom you grow to love because of the bond that you form with them, there are people who will have disappointed you. You may not want these people to benefit in any way from your death. Without a will, if these individuals happen to be a spouse or child, they may have a legal right to claim a portion of your property.

8. You can leave a donation to charity – You may want to contribute to the church, the local orphanage, the cancer wing of the hospital or any other noble cause. These wishes may not be known or honored in the absence of a will.

9. You can ensure that your grandchildren benefit as well – According to the law, grandchildren do not figure into the sharing of property. The law allows for division between the spouse and the deceased’s biological and legal children. With a will you will ensure that your grandchildren get what you would have given them; had you continued living. Grandchildren after all, are a grandparent’s best friend.

10. You can ensure your elders’ care is not interrupted – You may be survived by your aging parents, whose medical or home care and/ or personal bills are paid through your income. A will would enable you to continue to care for them and protect their best interests, if they have reached an age where they cannot care for themselves.


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