Now more than ever, parents are becoming in tune to how crucial a fine financial skillset can be for our kids in their future lives. Given this fact, schools still aren’t educating children on money, so it’s something that parents will need to take on, on their own.
Looking at some of the statistics from Forbes.com, we can see that there is a big problem with a lack of financial education in this country.
“3.9 million foreclosures. $1.1 trillion we owe in student loan debt. $845 billion we owe in credit card debt.” // www.forbes.com
There are the basic essentials that need to be taught to our kids, says Beth Kobliner, author of the New York Times bestseller Get a Financial Life. She says that kids as young as three can get a grasp of basic financial concepts such as saving and spending of money.
“The sooner parents start taking advantage of everyday teachable money moments (for example, give a six-year-old $2 and let her choose which fruit to buy), the better off our kids will be. Parents are the number one influence on their children’s financial behaviors, so it’s up to us to raise a generation of mindful consumers, investors, savers, and givers,” Kobliner tells www.forbes.com
Here are some great money lessons and activities that can be learned as early as age three.
The Lesson: You may have to wait to buy something you want.
Delaying gratification. Not a new concept, but one that is great to teach early on. Kids need to learn by age 5, that if they really desire something, they should wait, save and buy it for themselves. You essentially can’t start too early.
Activities For Ages 3 To 5
- Have 3 jars in your house for your child. One will be a savings jar, the other a spending jar, and the other a sharing jar. When your child gets money from home chores or gifts, divide the money into each of the jars, evenly. Spending is for small purchases, sharing is like a charity jar that kids can use to give away, and the savings jar is for long term, expensive purchases.
- Give your child a goal to save money to buy a toy, and make it so they’ll likely reach their target in a matter of a few weeks. Or if they have an overly expensive goal, you can perhaps offer to match dollar for dollar, their savings. When he or she adds to the savings jar, discuss how much they’ve saved, how much more they will need and how long it’ll take based on the current rate of saving.
The Lesson: You need to make choices about how to spend money.
In this age bracket, it’s important that your child understand that money isn’t infinite, and that good choices are essential. It is at this age that you can start to engage your child in adult financial decision making, such as discussing some of your own purchases.
Activities For Ages 6 To 10
- When at the shops, discuss why you bought the home brand flour as opposed to the name brand, or why your buy certain things in bulk to save money.
- Another good idea is to discuss certain store tactics, such as losing money on common items like coca cola, so that people come to shop here to buy that cheap popular item, and then do the rest of their shopping here anyway.
The Lesson: The sooner you save, the faster your money can grow from compound interest.
Now we can start to get into more serious financial topics such as compound interest. This is where you earn interest on your savings as well as past interest from those savings, and make more long term savings plans.
Activity For Ages 11 To 13
- Explain compound interest in simple ways, such as
“If you set aside $100 every year starting at age 14, you’d have $23,000 by age 65, but if you start at age 35, you’ll only have $7,000 by age 65.” // forbes.com