Many people go through life and don’t have the opportunity to learn about the importance of money and financial wellness. If you want to teach your kids about money but don’t know where to start, this guide breakdown by age may help!
This post has been written by our regular contributor, Kimberly Studdard.
While kids this age don’t understand the value of money just yet, there are a few easy ways to introduce them to the concept. The first way would be to start saving with them, and talk to them about their coins and dollars! You can buy a simple piggy bank, or even use an old jar. Every time you put a few coins or dollars in, identify them with your toddler.
To take things a little further, you can also have your toddlers trace their coins or play the matching game. While these won’t necessarily teach your kids about money, it will teach them on how to identify their change!
If you have the space, you could also try buying or building a “store” for your kids. You could fill it with a bunch of artificial grocery store items, label them with prices, and have your kids “work” in the store. Not only is this fun, but your kids will be learning as they play.
Now that your kids are a tad older (and more than likely going to school), it’s the most important time to start teaching! Not only will your child be old enough to start understanding the simple concepts of money, but they will also be following your every move. Kids are really impressionable at this age, so remember to lead by example.
When you are at the grocery store, you could have your child put the prices of food into a calculator. You could also have them pay the cashier with the money that you give to them. This shows kids the value of money and how much things cost, and also teaches them to stay accountable.
It’s also important to teach your kids about money and being able to say no. Again, kids are easily influenced, and peer pressure starts around this age. This is the perfect time to teach them that just because they want everything their friends have, doesn’t mean they should. You could sit them down and simply explain that you are a family that budgets, and if they want something they have to plan for it.
The biggest thing not to do around this age is to stress about money in front of your child. If they see you arguing with your spouse, or crying over your bank account, they will pick up on it. Even if you are going through a difficult time, you have to put on a brave face for your child. You can always teach them about the dangers of money as they get older, but right now they are just a little young.
These ages are the perfect time to start giving your kids an allowance. This will make it easier to teach your kids about money, because it involves them spending, saving, and giving their own cash instead of yours. If you want to keep their money in piggy banks you can, or you could always help them open up a bank account too!
You don’t have to pay much in allowance money, and you can set it up to fit your family the way you see fit. Some parents give an allowance based on chores, others don’t. Some choose to give weekly, some monthly. The important thing is to make sure your kids understand what the money is for.
This is also a great time to introduce a little responsibility! If you are basing allowances on chores, it’s okay to remind your kids that they won’t get an allowance if they don’t complete them. If your kid wants to buy an expensive toy, tell them they have to save for it!
While at this age kids aren’t ready for a job, they can still learn the importance of work! If you have garage sales, put them in a management type position. Teach them to mow lawns or shovel snow for neighbors and a few dollars. If you teach your kids about money and managing it now, when they do get a job they will have a strong work ethic and know what to do with their paycheck.
You can also start teaching your kids things like balancing a checkbook (or at least checking their account on a regular basis), and also how to save money by clipping coupons or comparison shopping. If you feel comfortable with it, you could also give them money that you would spend on their clothes and let them go buy their own! Not only could they choose their own clothing, but they will see how much you need to save to spend on everyday expenses.
At this age, your kids are almost ready for the real world! Now is the time to really crack down and teach them how to survive in the adult world, like filing taxes, having an emergency fund, and learning how to invest.
While your kids were little, you may have started saving for college or even started investing for them. If you did, you can show them how their accounts have grown and the importance of them.
When tax season comes around, show your kids how you do yours, and help them file their own too (if they have a job). If they don’t have a job, it’s okay to encourage them to get one! But, if you’d rather for them to focus on their studies, you could always increase their chore responsibility, or have them work during the summer.
If you are still giving your kids an allowance at this age, or if they have a job, continue to stress the importance of saving money. Try to set a goal of at least $1,000, and make sure they can save it as a just in case policy. If you want to teach them how to invest, start small with an app like Acorns or Betterment. You’ll be able to teach your kids about money, and they will be able to watch that money grow, even if it’s a little slow!
So there you have it, a bunch of ways to teach your kids about money! As your kids grow, you can tailor these to fit your family, and even add in a few ways of your own. Let’s raise a generation of money smart kids.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.