PERSONAL FINANCE: Five ways to teach your children to give back | Business

In the era of Covid-19, many charitable organizations find themselves in a precarious financial position while experiencing unprecedented demand, and they could benefit greatly from the generosity of those in their community.

This may present an opportunity to instill the value of giving to others in your child. If you’re a parent, here are some ways you can encourage your kids to become budding philanthropists.

Talk about why you giveHelp your child understand the importance of giving to others in need. Talk early and often about why sharing your knowledge, abilities, possessions or wealth matters to you. Instilling a culture of giving in your family is a process—not a one-time event. Remember to embrace the joy of giving, doing your best not to make giving back feel like a homework assignment or chore.

Find causes your child cares aboutYour child is more likely to develop a habit of giving back when he or she is passionate about the cause. Start by brainstorming the possibilities of who your child can help, such as their classmates, animals, the homeless, or the environment. Then, encourage him or her to identify what talents to offer in service. Does he love to bake? Does she enjoy music or caring for animals? Next, help your child choose one or two charities whose missions reflect his or her interests. Involve older children in the search and vetting process, teaching them how to have confidence that a charity is doing its best to help the cause.

Give and volunteer togetherWhen your children see you volunteering your time, talent and treasure, they see your values at work. Find ways to involve your children in your own giving. Your children will learn first-hand how rewarding giving to others can feel, and you’ll have the bonus of creating family memories to cherish too.

Encourage disciplined savingKids need to learn how to manage their own money in order to become responsible givers as they grow older. When your children get an allowance, or otherwise receive money, they can practice making responsible choices. Introduce the idea of “save, share and spend” — setting aside a portion of their money for the future, a portion to help others and a portion for fun spending.

Create a family foundationConsider establishing a foundation to fund causes you care about. Formalizing your giving in this way creates ongoing opportunities for you and your children to make a lasting impact on the community. Talk to your financial advisor for advice regarding establishing a foundation and leaving a legacy of service to the next generation.

Holley Smaldone-Cragg, CMFC, is a Financial Advisor with Ameriprise Financial in Geneva. She specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for over 35 years. Her website is

Christopher Lewis

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