Breaking the cycle of bad money habits in black families

BlackDoctor.org | 2/8/2017, 11:44 a.m.
One thing that traditionally hasn’t been a strong suit in the Black family – and simultaneously, a detriment – is ...

One thing that traditionally hasn’t been a strong suit in the Black family – and simultaneously, a detriment – is passing down healthy money habits to ensure financial stability for future generations.

In the technology age, however, that is beginning to change as more Black parents are building a foundation for their children to learn financial responsibility at an early age, hoping it’ll drive their decision making in adulthood.

“There is nothing righteous about struggling for your financial security,” Sabrina Lamb, a financial literacy educator, explained in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette. “It is actually a perfect storm of low self-esteem, lack of knowledge and generational conditioning.”

In order to break bad generational habits of spending money, parents must first take an introspective look to see how they’ve been holding up financially – only then can a parent truly impart wisdom on their child about good spending habits.

Here are some tips to start the conversation with your young ones.

Save, save, save!

It’s never too early to show your child the importance of saving money. On birthdays and holidays, for example, teach your child to put at least 30 percent of the cash they received into a piggy bank – or, an actual bank savings account. This will become routine so every time your little one gets some extra cash as a gift, they’ll immediately think to save it.

Teach the value of money.

So many children actually think money just appears into their parents’ pockets. Be direct in teaching your child that that’s not the case. Think about ways to make your child work for the money they’re seeking to purchase toys, video games or anything else they like – perhaps, a weekly payout for chores. This way your children will feel some type of way when spending the money that they actually worked their butts off for.

Discuss bills and budgets openly.

Now, it’s typical in many traditionally Black households that adults frequently tell children to stay out of “grown folks business.” Because of this, Black parents tend to never discuss any financial hurdles they may be facing – such as problems making mortgage payments – or even the growing costs of bills. It’s important to show your children how bills work. Like, for example, how leaving the lights on in every room translates into how much money the family owes on the monthly electricity bill.

Practice what you preach.

Children mimic everything they see their parents do. So, if you recklessly use your credit cards to buy clothes, jewelry and other non-necessities at the mall, your children will adopt that behavior without understanding the consequences of it. Be the financially responsible person that you want your children to be.