When it comes to teaching our children who are blind or visually impaired to manage money wisely, we may desire a ready-made tutorial, perhaps a 10-step program that equips our children with a lifetime of financial literacy and security. I’m here to remind us that teaching our children financial literacy and money management is an enduring process.
It involves our children understanding choice-making; wants vs needs; identification and value of money; work/how money is earned; goal-setting; restraint/self-discipline; budgeting; wise spending and saving; banking systems; loans and debt; credit and debit cards; and investing.
Now, most children are unacquainted with money management, as they are kept in the dark about their families’ incomes and expenses (understandably), and the decision of what they own, eat, and wear isn’t theirs to make. Children and teens who are blind or visually impaired are further disadvantaged because they do not learn about money and the market by observation (which we call incidental learning).
Here’s what can be done:
Expect your child to accomplish chores. This is the foundation of her understanding of work.
Openly discuss finances with your child. Tell your child when you are choosing to save your money instead of making a desired purchase, when you are choosing to purchase a good or service for which you’ve budgeted, as well as the cost of goods and services.
Allow your child to practice earning and managing a small allowance. For example, a year ago we decided to refrain from buying our children random toys, souvenirs, and gifts “from them” at holidays and birthday parties, but instead, provide them with a weekly allowance to purchase their own toys, souvenirs (if they so choose), as well as gifts for friends and family. Our school-age children are now interested in the cost of items and must save for bigger-ticket purchases. We will gradually give them control over the funds we would be spending on them, and I’m sure they will learn from natural consequences and early exposure to managing money.
Involve your child in your family’s saving and spending opportunities. Your children don’t need to be told specific numbers, but they can be aware of your budget percentages, goals, and the like. Additionally, if you invest money, encourage your child to invest a small amount, and he may be interested in watching the stock market.
Volunteer with your children and encourage your teen to get a job!
Work with your child’s Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) to address accommodations related to vision loss.
To further assist you, utilize the following money management resources:
- Gather instructional activities from AFB CareerConnect’s Money Management lesson series. The lessons cover budgeting; setting long- and short-term financial goals; understanding the banking system; reducing and eliminating debt; investing into the stock and bond markets; and giving responsibly.
- Read U.S. Bank’s article and Braille Work’s article to learn what accessible banking entails.
- Read Common Financial Myths to Debunk for Your Older Child or Teen with Vision Loss.
- Find age-appropriate financial literacy activities and conversation starters for your son or daughter using Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Money As You Grow website.
- Utilize teaching tools and parental guides for helping your child develop into a financially responsible adult within The Mint’s It Makes Perfect Cents website.
What would you add? We’d love to hear your suggestions and resources for teaching children and teens with vision loss about money management.