Hey, Internet: Do you remember millennials? Many of us have graduated from our lattes and leisurely brunches to become parents with jobs, car loans, and maybe even a mortgage.
On our way to adulthood, we have experienced two global crises: a recession and a pandemic. Many of us still carry mountains of student debt. Those years have shaped our view of money, and now we are teaching our children what we know.
Here are the money lessons five Millennial parents across the country want their kids to learn (answers have been edited for length and clarity):
“NEVER THINK YOUR CHILD IS TOO YOUNG TO LEARN”
Laurynn Vaughn, 37, of Kissimmee, Fla., Is a single mother of two daughters, ages 5 and 4. She runs a daycare center that closed during the pandemic but has since reopened. She is also an active volunteer
“I don’t want to gloss over the fact that I wasn’t taught about money. I think the sooner you educate your children the better. I’ve already taught them that there are roughly three principles with money. The # 1 thing is to give. The second thing is to save. And the third thing is, what you have left is what you can enjoy. My principles are a little different, there are really four: I pay my bills, then I give, I save and I have money left to enjoy. It is better to teach them at their level than not to teach them because you are waiting for them to reach a level.
“IT IS BETTER TO BE A WORKING STUDENT AND LEAVE COLLEGE WITH A LOT LESS DEBT”
Mae Waugh Barrios, 34, of Holliston, Massachusetts, is the mother of three children aged 10, 4 and 2. She is an educational coach for the college and is on unpaid leave to care for her children during the pandemic. Her husband, Francisco, runs a landscaping business. She still has $ 20,000 in student loans to repay.
“This is the biggest mistake I have ever made in my life. Everyone has said to go to the university you want, to take the loans. Nobody told me about the real legacy of the loans. students. My husband did not go to college. Our plan is to open an education savings account for (our children) when I return to work. It is (also) better to be a student who is working and leaving college with much less debt. My husband and I made sure we didn’t get bogged down so much that we couldn’t survive. We talk a lot at the dinner table about being rich and being poor If you are rich your money works for you If you are poor you work for money.
‘A GREATER PLACE ON EXPERIENCES’
Steffa Mantilla, 36, of Houston has a 4-year-old son. She is a certified financial education instructor, former zookeeper, and founder of the Money Tamer personal finance website.
“In our home, we put more emphasis on ‘experiences’ rather than ‘things’. (For my son’s birthday), instead of buying tons of goodies, we’ll buy one and then tickets to the local children’s museum or zoo. We also encourage loved ones to give experience gifts that they can give together. It emphasizes family and friends while teaching him to live with less stuff around. “
“DON’T BE AFRAID TO INVEST”
Alan LaFrance, 37, of Austin, Texas, has a 5-year-old son. He works in digital marketing and his wife, Meladee, is a respiratory therapist.
“You could pay for a car in cash, but you could (get) a loan for that car and take that capital and invest it. If you can earn more with that money, you’re in a much better position overall. At some point you can’t erase everything, you have to start letting the money work for you. As parents, we want our children to save, but in reality you can overdo it and miss out on a lot of opportunities. “
“BUILD ANOTHER REVENUE FLOW”
Jernessa Jones, 39, of Florence, Alabama, is a single mother to a 6-year-old son and is a Certified Financial Advisor with Operation Hope, a nonprofit financial education organization. She graduated from an MBA program during the pandemic and started a fashion accessories business. “
“My mom and dad didn’t own a business and neither did the owners. I was looking for homes last year because home ownership is the first step in building a generational wealth. I realized that I could afford the mortgages for some of the houses I looked at, but that I would probably be poor in housing. I decided to take a step back and see what I could do to create another stream of income. Entrepreneurship was another thing I could teach my son. From start to finish, even when I opened my business bank account, it was there.