Money-Smarts 101 for Kids
Children of all ages benefit from money smarts. Learning key concepts in a developmentally appropriate way better prepares kids for the real-world expectations they will face as adults. Here are some age-appropriate ways to teach money smarts to kids.
Teach value at any age: teaching your children about quality and value are important concepts. At the grocery store, teach your kids about brand name and generic items. Understanding what products taste best and are worth spending more money on is helpful. Learning what products can be purchased for less but hold value is equally important. You may be willing to buy generic corn flakes but have to buy brand name mayonnaise. Knowing how to discern which products are worth spending more on is a helpful tool to have.
Let them make choices: Giving kids the opportunity to make choices about money is a great exercise. When it’s time to go school shopping, tell them what the budget it. Let them decide if they want to shop for quantity or quality. If they don’t need that big of a budget, give them the option to take the rest in cash to put toward their other goals.
Give them an allowance: Whether you assign it to chores, or want to give a regular allowance, providing kids with an allowance means they have their own money. When you are at the store and they want to make an impulse purchase, let them decide if they want to spend their money on it or not. This will let you off the hook and help you regulate your spending as well.
Open an investment account or college savings with your middle-schooler: Start teaching your kids the value of long-term savings by letting them contribute toward those goals and watching the balance grow.
Give your high-schooler a budgeting app: Helping your high-schooler track and budget their earnings or their allowance will help them see where their money goes and make better spending decisions. Have them keep track of all their income and spending and meet with you once per week or per month to go over their notes. Help them modify their choices if they are getting off track or overdrawn.
Helping kids with their money smarts now will make their transition into adulthood smoother and less shocking. Your attention to their money smarts will go a long way for their future success.