8 Money Lessons to Share with Military Kids

8 Money Lessons to Share with Military Kids
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It's never too early to learn how to manage your money. If you're a parent or grandparent looking to instill some basic financial wisdom in the milkids in your life, here are some lessons to share:

  1. Teach them: “A part of all you earn is yours to keep” (from “The Richest Man in Babylon”). Shaving off a small portion of pay (say 10 percent) won't impact their spending that much.
  2. If they are working, put a small portion in a retirement account. The earlier they invest, the sooner they can stop working later in life.
  3. Show them the power of compounded money. At first, it might seem it will take forever to build wealth, but like a snowball rolling down the mountainside, it gets large quickly. For example, starting at age 25, $200 a month to age 65 equals $700,000. Starting at age 35, $200 a month to age 65 equals $300,000 (at 8 percent annual average return).
  4. Build a credit record. Without a credit record, someone will have to cosign for them later and they could be behind as young adults. Make sure the child pays it off.
  5. They need to learn to live within their means. Credit is not a substitute for income or spending beyond their income. This goes for housing also. Don't be house poor.
  6. Don't go overboard with college loans. Keep a cap on college expenses by finding alternatives to maintain a realistic budget. A massive debt at graduation means your child can't afford the payments, they live at home, or you'll own the debt.
  7. Have a budget or create a money flow chart - money in, money out.
  8. Percentage of Gross Income
    • Investment in you: 10 percent minimum (short- and long-term)
    • Total housing and consumer debt: 40 percent
      • Housing 25-30 percent
      • Consumer debt (zero being the goal)
    • Living expenses: 50 percent
      • Learn how to pay off our debts. Make consumer debt a priority, and have two plans: one based on psychology and the other math.
        • The quick victory. Pay off the smaller debts first. You have to make at least minimum payments on all debts. Put an extra amount toward the smallest debt first.
        • The interest rate on the debt represents a negative return of your money. Rank the debts, with highest interest rate on top and lowest rate on the bottom. Pay off by working your way down the list.