Not going to lie, I thought this whole distance learning situation was only going to last until summer. My newborn is now 3 months and I have a 1st and 2nd grader both learning from home. It’s brought on a lot of unexpected changes in our household, including a full work from home model for myself and my husband. Now, what does this have to do with our personal finances? Well, a lot actually. Without having our finances in order it would be a lot harder to adjust to our “new normal”. After sitting down with a financial advisor from Northwestern Mutual, I was able to understand where exactly we as a family can cut back on work so we can focus more on our kids. With them being our utmost priority, I wanted to make sure that when I’m with them I’m fully present and not anxious or stressed about what’s to come and if we’re prepared as a family. One of the best things that came out of my time with an advisor was how to weave in financial lessons throughout the day, no matter their age, and I’m sharing some of my faves below.
Tip 1: Feed Their Inner Entrepreneur:
My kids are 6 & 8, so they’re starting to absorb more concrete information and are sponges when it comes to building healthy habits. I love online resources like Khan Academy which have budget templates and answer questions around how parents can talk to their kids about money. My advisor also suggested going a step ahead of just playing board games like Monopoly to actually have them start a small business or build a small stock portfolio. Having them think through what stocks they would invest in and why is practical learning. I found an online game my 8-yr-old likes because it reminds him on fantasy football called London Stock Exchange’s fantasy game.
Tip 2: Take it Beyond the Classroom:
Because most kids are still learning from home, it’s a great way to weave in life skills even “after school” hours. For instance, at the dinner table, after talking about everyone’s day a great topic could be around current events. It doesn’t have to be heavy at all. One thing we have started talking about is supporting small businesses and the importance of local support to see these establishments thrive. We have seen some of our favorite restaurants and shops close down since the onset of Covid and it’s something the kids are just starting to notice. Talking about what’s happening now can help them understand the importance of trying to save for an emergency event, just like us parents are doing for uncertain times like the present.
Tip 3: It Takes a Village
One thing I’ve done since distance learning started was seek out advice and also a helping hand from other parents navigating through this unchartered territory. At the onset of Covid, it was difficult playing the role of mom and teacher, so I really wanted to be prepared with the new school year. Getting a few of us to band together and contribute time and money for enrichment programs that the kids could partake in has really helped the kids thrive while homeschooling. This also means we had to be organized and prepared financially so the additional expenses were feasible.
These are just a few ways homeschooling has become less stressful, and in large part after talking to what felt was a friend, but in fact was a financial advisor. There are so many resources available to anyone out there looking to better understand how to prepare for their childrens’ future from Northwestern Mutual so be sure to check them out!
Good luck to all the parents out there!