Only one in three teens believe that their parents/guardians are concerned with making sure they are learning the basics of smart money management, revealed the Charles Schwab Teens & Money 2007 Survey.
While many parents and other adult influencers are genuinely concerned about raising money smart kids, many just don't know where to start. The reality is that teaching young kids about responsible money management doesn't have to be overly complicated. The key is to start with small lessons and start young.
For the very young, a trip to the credit union or bank to make a deposit can go a long way. Let them hand the teller the deposit, then explain where it goes and why. The same goes for retail store purchases. By allowing the child to hand off the credit card or cash to the cashier, you're helping connect the dots that items we bring home from the store are not free. (Don't overlook explaining that plastic is another form of money--it looks different from paper money or coins but serves the same purpose.)
BabyCenter.com offers these additional ways of introducing money to preschoolers:
- Shop or host garage sales: talk about the savings potential of shopping for used vs new or earning potential if you are hosting the sale
- Visit the local farmer's market: to help make the connection between work and money, explain that the vendors produce the items they are selling, decide the price, and try to make money by selling their wares
- Play online games: Check out the US Mint's site and Googolplex, for elementary through high school-aged kids
- Set a family savings goal: your child can add your loose change to the pot, and occasionally his/her allowance, towards something the whole family will benefit from
By including your kids in your conversations and decisions about money early on, you'll help set the stage for lifelong responsible money management.