Hey internet: do you remember millennials? Many of us have done our lattes and leisurely brunches to become parents with jobs, car loans, and maybe even a mortgage.
On our way to growing up, we have experienced two global crises – a recession and a pandemic. Many of us still carry mountains of student debt. Those years have shaped our approach to money and now we are teaching our children what we know.
Here are the money lessons five millennial parents across the country want to teach their children (answers have been edited for length and clarity):
“NEVER THINK YOUR CHILD IS TOO YOUNG TO LEARN”
Laurynn Vaughn, 37, of Kissimmee, Florida, is a single mother of two daughters, ages 5 and 4. She runs a day care center that closed during the pandemic but has since reopened. She is also an active volunteer
“I don’t want to pass on that I wasn’t taught money. I think the sooner you start teaching your kids the better. I’m already teaching them that there are pretty much three principles to money. Second, save. And third, what remains is what you can enjoy. My principles are a little different, there are really four: I pay bills, then I give, I save and have money left over to enjoy. Better to teach them at their level than not to teach them because you are waiting for them to reach a level. “
“It’s better to be a working student and leave college with a lot less debt”
Mae Waugh Barrios, 34, of Holliston, Massachusetts, is the parent of three children, ages 10, 4, and 2. She is a middle school teacher trainer and is on unpaid leave to look after her children during the pandemic. Her husband Francisco runs a landscaping company. She still has $ 20,000 in student loans to repay.
“That was the biggest mistake I’ve made in my entire life. Everyone said go to the college you want, just take the loans. Nobody told me the real after-effects of student loans. My husband didn’t go to college . Our plan is to open a college savings account for (our children) when I go back to work. It’s (also) better to be a student trainee and leave college with a lot less debt. My husband and I have for that Made sure we don’t get stuck in debt that we can’t survive. We talk a lot at the dinner table about being rich and poor. When you are rich, your money works for you. When you are poor, you work for money . “
‘MAKING EXPERIENCES MORE’
Steffa Mantilla, 36, from Houston has a 4 year old son. She is a certified financial education instructor, former zookeeper, and founder of the personal finance website Money Tamer.
“In our household we place more value on ‘experiences’ than on ‘things’. (for my son’s birthday) instead of buying tons of gifts, we buy a gift and then tickets to the children’s museum or the local zoo. We encourage relatives to have experiences that they can have together, focusing on family and friends while teaching them to live with less stuff. “
“DON’T BE AFRAID TO INVEST”
Alan LaFrance, 37, of Austin, Texas, has a 5 year old son. He works in digital marketing and his wife Meladee is a respiratory therapist.
“You could pay for a car in cash, but you could (get) a loan on that car and borrow that capital and invest it. If you can make more with that money, you’re in a much better position overall, you can’t.” just put everything away, you have to start making the money work for you As parents, we want our children to save, but in reality you can do too much and really miss a lot of opportunities. “
“BUILDING A DIFFERENT STREAM OF INCOME”
Jernessa Jones, 39, of Florence, Alabama, is a single mom with a 6 year old son and an accredited financial advisor with Operation Hope, a nonprofit financial education organization. She completed an MBA program during the pandemic and started a fashion accessories business. “
“My mom and dad didn’t own a business, nor were they homeowners. I was looking for homes last year because owning a home is the first step in building intergenerational wealth. I realized I could afford the mortgages on some of the houses I’d looked at. but i would probably be poor I decided to take a step back and see what I could do to build another stream of income. Entrepreneurship was another thing I could teach my son. From start to finish, even when I opened my commercial bank account, he was there. “