As a child, we learn from our parents and that includes how we manage our finances. Our children learn our behaviors, just like you learned from your parents.  Children see when we’re struggling to pay bills and that we work long hours or multiple jobs to make ends meet. They also see us dealing with stress by going shopping and buying a new pair of shoes. They may see us drink or eat unhealthy.

It’s important for a parent to be a leader and set the standard. Try to include your children in financial discussions and purchases. It allows your children to know that you’re interested in their opinion. Starting early allows your child to develop strong saving habits earlier. Try to help children learn budgeting by giving an allowance or opening a checking account for them. Teach the basics of saving.

Did you know that your children not only learn from your behaviors, they may feel the effects of your debt too? Debt doesn’t disappear, as much as you and I wish it did. When you pass away, who ever is left with your estate is also left with your debt. Your debt is taken out of your assets. First your secured debts, such as your mortgage, then your unsecured debt such as credit cards. You may pass on your debt directly if your children are cosigners of a loan with you have a joint bank account, are listed on your credit card, mortgage or listed on your auto loan. You may think well, if I just give away my assets before I die, then my debts cannot be deducted. Well, creditors have the right to legally petition to have that reversed. Scary, eh?

It’s important to think of not only your future, but the future of your children. They are affected more than you know.