Today’s Guest Papi is Rudy DeFelice, CEO of Kidworth
As a parent of three kids, I remember hauling the detritus of a consumer gifts to the curb after every holiday and birthday – plastic packaging, wrapping paper, dead batteries, and a rash of trash. The thrill of opening gifts faded quickly and what was left was waste and the feeling that there must be a better way to celebrate our children’s future.
To alleviate this ritual year after year, we as a family adopted a plan of long term goal setting as an alternative to plastic overload. I talked to my kids (ages 8, 6 and 3) about the things they really cared about. My older son wanted guitar lessons, my middle boy wanted a new mountain bike and my daughter wanted a computer. We all want to save for college and as a way to support how every family should give to others, we suggested each kid identified a charity to support.
These are longer term goals – particularly saving for education, but they are consistent with providing long term benefits. Families need to set financial milestones to enable goals and part of the kids’ allowances, earnings and gifts go towards these goals.
Interestingly, we found that kids got engaged in the process of goal setting. They bought into the goals we set and they enjoyed charting their progress over time. They are learning – by doing – how money grows, how interest accumulates and how goals are achieved. They still get toys, but a sane amount. But they know they are working towards meaningful goals they care about.
Goal setting and financial education for children is imperative to our children’s future. Every parent should be looking at teaching fiscal responsibility with the same importance as, say, math. This mindset will lead to a movement and a brighter future for children who don’t have the “me” mentality and who aren’t aware that saving, rather than using credit, is the way to a financially responsible, happy, way of life.
Online sites and tools that enable families to set meaningful financial goals are valuable in helping kids develop financial habits and skills. As families consider goals for 2011, it is important to bring children into the discussion and financial planning websites can be the impetus for setting and achieving long-term financial goals. I suggest looking for tools that are integrated tightly with social networking sites such as Facebook so that goals can be shared easily among family and friends – and the service should be free or cost little since the goal is to save money – not spend it.
Now all families can embrace meaningful goal setting and achievement for their kids. We believe we can raise a generation of kids who practice saving and investing their whole lives.
ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST PAPI
Rudy DeFelice is CEO of Kidworth. Based in Los Angeles, Kidworth is a company focused on financial goal setting and achievement for the “cradle to college” crowd, which uses technology and social media to help a generation identify, set and fulfill worthwhile financial goals. For more information, visit www.Kidworth.com.