Sarang Ahuja | Finance

Leader, Financial Expert, Game Changer

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Talking to your Kids about Finance—Sarang Ahuja

Talking to Your Kids About Finance

It can be tough to broach the subject of money with kids. After all, they likely haven’t had a real job or had to worry about their own finances early on in their lives. For children, adults appear to have their finances figured out, with magical credit cards that allow them to pay for everything and no knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes. Talks about the value of saving money are generally the baseline measure taken to help kids understand finance, but even then, the idea of spending and saving money may seem a world away to them.

I’d like to share a few of the ways that you can talk to your kids about money in a way that can prepare them for the future.

Explain how your finances work.

Children are renowned for their curiosity, and when speaking with them, it helps to treat them like people and not talk down to them. That said, it can be difficult to explain finances in terms that they would readily understand. But some of the basics—how a credit card must be paid back, how monthly expenses can define a budget—can be crucial in giving your children a sense of the effort that goes into managing money.

With the amount of automation that comes with managing finances, it can seem like an effortless process to an outsider, something that anybody can tell you is certainly not true. Dissect the accounts, payments, and taxes that go into every transaction with your children. You’ll likely find that they’ll have plenty of questions of their own.

Teach Shopping Habits.

Make your kids into smart shoppers by showing them the ways that you compare goods when shopping. Note to them the size and price, and experiment with different brands to spark a discussion about whether or not paying extra for a certain brand is worth it.

Work On Saving Goals.

Saving is one of the basic tenets of financial management, but to what end? Work with your children and encourage them to set saving goals, even if they’re relatively minor. Is there a new game that they want? Talk to them about the price and how long it will take to save up for it. If they get a regular allowance, help put in perspective how far their money goes. Start a savings account for your child, and teach them the value of setting funds aside for the future. Talk to them about setting aside things like birthday and holiday money in this account.

Set a Budget.

This one is more geared at older kids coming up on their teens, but breaking down monthly expenses and comparing them to income is a valuable lesson. As a child, it can be easy to forget about the transactions that keep an individual afloat, from rent to food to car payments. Create a somewhat simplified budget with them, giving them a better sense of how you allocate your finances each month, and give them the chance to plan one of their own.

Invest Wisely.

Once you’ve covered a lot of the basics, talk of stocks and investment can help kids understand the value inherent in businesses. Make it a family activity; have every individual track a stock and discuss the highs and lows that it goes through over the course of several weeks.

Teach Giving.

With all of the pressure to accumulate enough cash to balance a budget, it is still important to teach your children that, at the end of the day, there is still always someone less fortunate that is worth giving back to. Encourage them to research different charities, and perhaps even foster their own fundraising efforts for giving back to the cause of their choice.

After all, it’s not just about encouraging them to be better spenders, but encouraging them to be better people.

The Guide to Investing: Part 2

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When it comes to money, investing can oftentimes be a scary thing. The main thing you can do to best benefit your financial future is to understand, prepare, and strategize various ways to optimize and leverage your financial portfolio each and every month.

In my last article, I went over some of the red flags novice investors do when building up their financial portfolio. As much as we want to focus on the do-not, you also want to make sure you are focusing on the dos, or action plan, when planning your financial investment.

As stated in my previous article, I cannot stress the importance of learning. No matter what the situation is, knowledge is power. The most important thing you can do for your financial portfolio is to never stop learning. Assume the mentality of a student and constantly absorb the information and news around you. When it comes to investing, it can be a long winded and complicated process. That is why I recommend doing your homework and researching the ins-and-outs of every financial opportunity. If there is at any point where you do not understand a particular step, stop and research until you understand it. The biggest risk you can take in compromising your savings is by not understanding what you are getting into.

Once you are able to understand the foundational background of investing, try putting that knowledge into real life situations. This will require you to pick your own personal investments and manage your campaign yourself. While you pick your investments, make sure you are strategic and consistent with your financial plan. The simpler your plan is, the better. The most important thing with your plan comes down to your financial goals. Any miss-targeted-dates, whether it is weekly or monthly, can compromise your long-term goal. To help alleviate this problem, try setting up an automatic investment plan. This will allow you to stay consistent with your savings each and every month.

Now, while investments may take you on a roller coaster of a ride, make sure you stick with it. Yes, this can be stressful, but continuing with your plan in the long run will prevent any unfavorable consequences. For any short-term drops or short-term changes with your financial plan, this can require a large buy-out fee and penalty fees that can set your financial goals back a couple months, or worse, a couple of years. Just be confident in your decision and continuously update yourself with any relevant information that can prove that your investments are safe and secured.

If, however, you are uneasy about how things are going, you can always turn to a professional. Contacting a financial advisor can only benefit than hurt. At some points in our portfolio, we are unsure how to best optimize our campaigns in the most fruitful and lucrative manner. That is when a financial advisor can help you allocate necessary funds for your best interest. Before committing to a financial advisor, be sure to do your homework. Ask a lot of question and research their educational and financial background. To learn more about how to find the best financial advisor for your particular situation, research the qualities here.

The Guide to Investing: Part 1

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When it comes to investing, you need to be practical about your goals and the overall situation. This is not a simple get-rich-quick scheme. Instead, it requires a lot of due diligence in finance and financial management. This type of control with your personal finance is something that can benefit you in the long run. But make no mistake; making smart and strategic investments requires quite a bit of effort and research, especially without the advice of a professional expert.

Now you do not have to be an expert to invest in a company or a stock. While you can hire a professional like a financial advisor to do the grunt work for you, all you truly need to understand is what investing is, what it means, and how time itself is the factor that earns money through compounding. To help you in your efforts, try and buy quick tutorial books on investing or visit sites like Investopedia.com that review the basics and foundations of investment strategy. I would still advise you to seek additional help from a friend or a professional. The more knowledge you are able to amass, the better you are able to reach your personal financial goals.

Now when it comes to investing, there are a couple of things you should try and avoid. First and foremost, you need to be tangible and realistic about the overall timeline in reaching your personal financial goals. Expecting too much or using someone else’s expectations can often times derail both your morale and your financial plan. Like it or not, the simple act of investing cannot immediately solve your problems in a short period of time. As stated above, time will be the sole factor in how lucrative your return will be in the future. To help alleviate this problem, try not to set unrealistic expectations. Instead, base your projects on past investors and their financial returns (and financial loses). This will allow you to holistically view every situation possible in bettering your portfolio for the future.

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Going off of realistic expectations, it is absolutely vital that you have tangible investment goals. For most people, this isn’t an issue. Their goal with investing is to have an overall stable income in their retirement saving account to help aid and supplement their personal savings and additional funding from their Social Security. Most people usually work towards that as a real goal. The tricky portion to investing besides picking their investment opportunity are the actual figures and targeted-date that you want to see your funds grow throughout your portfolio. Start by asking yourself a variety of questions: Are you looking to save $2000.00 a month? Are you looking to have $50,000 saved by the end of the year? Whatever is the case, make sure you are clear about your short-term financial goals. While this may be tedious and downright stressful, setting these small foundational targets will help you view your financial plan in a more strategic and holistic manner. This will, in turn, allow you to strategize the best course of action when moving on with your investments.

Once your goals are set, make sure you are reviewing your investment plans regularly. For many successful investors, they set a time within the month (or week) to talk, discuss, and analyze the performance of their portfolio, especially when there are other moving factors and different investments involved. Make sure you are like one of these investors. Keep track of your portfolio and adjust your contributions to keep things in balance. The worst thing you can do for yourself is to assume everything is great. Be cautious and strategic.

Now to enhance your investment portfolio, you want to make sure you are diversifying enough of your assets in different places. You have probably heard the infamous childhood phrase of “Not putting all your eggs in one basket.” Similar to this statement, you want to make sure you are diversifying your portfolio. Diversification, in investments, simply means spreading your money across a variety of different opportunities. Ideally, you want to spread your assets in the following: cash, bonds, stock, real estate, precious metals, collectables, etc. Whatever is the case, diversification allows you to protect your assets from any changes within the market. This will allow you to keep your financial future intact, while also providing any financial security in case anything goes wrong. As much as you want to be cautious with your money, you also want to take a risk. Remember, it all comes down to the homework you do for each financial opportunity. Nothing is ever a sure thing. But it doesn’t hurt to have the odds in your favor.

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