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Kids start to mimic what they see their parents do from a very early age — and you may not be realizing what they're picking up.
Whether it's what parents buy, how often they buy things or whether they look for deals, children are watching just how their mom and dad spend money. Some experts even believe that this is one of the biggest financial patterns kids adapt early on.
"I believe the number-one behavior children learn from their parents is spending habits," Mac Gardner, certified financial planner and author of "The Four Money Bears," tells CNBC Select. "It's one of the first financial behaviors children pick up at an early age."
Below, CNBC Select spoke to Gardner, a financial literacy advocate for young children, on his experience speaking with kids about money, and how parents can play an active role in teaching their kids about their finances.
Gardner's perspective on kids and money comes directly from what he hears from them. The "$100 Bill Challenge" is a specific question he asks elementary school students.
"I show them a $100 bill and ask them, 'What would you do with a $100?' Gardner says. "Nine out of 10 kids respond that they would use it to buy something. One could say that kids are programmed to consume at an early age."
To help combat the idea that money is meant for spending rather than saving, Gardner suggests that parents teach their kids all the different ways money can actually be used.
He's developed four basic rules of managing money: 1) spend cautiously; 2) save diligently; 3) invest wisely; 4) give generously. Parents can kick start their teaching by talking to their kids about making a plan or setting a goal to buy something. They can then create a mini budget and show their children how money can be saved for other things down the road. And as kids grow older, parents can begin to teach them about credit.
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How an adult manages their own finances has a lot to do with how they were raised to think about money. Since parents' spending habits go a long way in teaching kids to consume, try to balance it out with showing them the other ways money can be used. Developing these life skills early on can make all the difference.
Information about the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
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