* Saving. Spend less than you earn. It’s such a simple maxim, and yet very few young adults understand it or know how to follow it. Teach your child from a young age to put part of money he receives or earns in the bank. Teach him how to set a savings goal, and save for it, and then purchase whatever it is he was saving for.
* Budgeting. Many of us dread this task as adults, and suffer because of it, because we lack the understanding and skills necessary to make budgeting a breeze. Teach them simple budgeting skills, and what’s involved, and they won’t have problems as an adult. You could wait until teenage years to do something like this — but it’s a good thing because this shows them why basic math is necessary.
* Paying bills. Give them bills to pay and have them pay it on time, online or in the real world. Learn how to write a check, paper and online, and how to make sure that you’re never late with bills again — either pay them immediately or automatically.
* Investing. What is investing and why is it necessary? How do you do it and what are different ways of doing it? How do you research an investment? How does it compound over time? This is a good conversation to have with your teen.
* Frugality. This is something to teach them from an early age. How to shop around to get a good deal, to compare between products of different prices and quality, to make things last and not waste, to cook at home instead of eating out too much, to control impulse buying. When we go out and do a shopping spree, including before Christmas, we are teaching them just the opposite.
* Credit. This is a major problem for many adults. Teach them the responsible use for credit, and how to avoid it when it’s not necessary, and how to avoid getting into too much debt, and how to use a credit card responsibly.
* Retirement. Is it better to work hard and retire or to take mini-retirements throughout life? That’s a personal question, but your child should be aware of the options and the pros and cons of each, and how to do each. Why it’s important to start investing in retirement when you’re young, and how much of a difference that can make through compound interest. How to do it automatically.
* Charity. Why this is an important use of your money, and how to make it a regular habit. This should be not only a financial issue, but a social one. Show them how to volunteer their time and effort as well.