Teaching Kids About Money

When to Start Teaching Kids About Money

Planting the Seeds of Financial Literacy

While you may appreciate the value of teaching your kids to manage their money responsibly, you may not be quite sure of when that discussion should start or what it should entail.

Starting early.

Kids may begin to understand the concept of money at an early age. Some retailers even sell toy cash registers for the toddler age group. When you're out and about with your toddler, you can tell him what you're doing when you're in the checkout lane at the store or at the bank. When your children ask for something they see at the store or on TV, you can remind them that that it costs money, and can count that money out with them at the register.

Help your child start saving.

Kids love the concept of a piggy bank, a place they can collect their pennies and watch their fortune grow. When your child reaches age three or four, buy him or her a piggy bank. When the change collection reaches the top, think about taking him to the bank with that money to open his own account. Many banks offer accounts just for children.

Have your child shadow you.

As you pay the bills, consider having your 8- to 14-year-old children watch you. You can show them that the T-shirt you bought with your credit card really did cost money, and it's now time to pay for it. As they begin to earn babysitting money or collect an allowance, you can counsel them on how to save money, spend wisely and consider charitable donations.

Help teens manage their money.

As your teenagers start a first job, they may be over the moon when they bring home that first paycheck. This can be a good time to talk to your child about more advanced money management topics like credit and interest. There's no time like the present to begin teaching your child how to manage his or her finances. First lessons should begin at home; so don't hesitate to let the kids into the process, at any and every stage.

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