Written by DeeDee Hughes, managing editor of
Oak Meadow's free educational journal,
A report by researchers at the
University of Cambridge
revealed that our money habits are formed by age seven. "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," says Beth Kobliner in a
article. Kobliner is a member of the President's Advisory Council on Financial
Capability and one of the creators of the excellent and highly practical
Money as You Grow,
which offers age-appropriate money lessons and activities for children based on
their age group. Here is a glimpse of the top money lessons for each age:
- Ages 3 – 5: You have to wait to buy something you really want
- Ages 6 – 10: You need to make wise choices about how to spend your money
- Ages 11 – 13: The sooner you save, the faster your money will grow from compound interest
My favorite piece of advice: "You should save at least a dime from every
dollar you receive." A piggy bank—homemade or store-bought—can make saving money
fun by encouraging kids with progress they can see.
Financial Fitness for Life is a comprehensive
curriculum that can be purchased from the Council for Economic Education. You
can get lots of great ideas just from browsing through the website.
Here are some other great resources for teaching financial literacy to your
"Money and Kids"
resources page has a collection of dozens of practical articles about teaching
children "the value of saving and spending wisely." The top article,
"15 Ways to Teach Kids About Money",
offers great tips, such as helping kids differentiate between needs, wants, and
wishes, setting money goals, teaching them how to keep good records of saving
and spending, and this gem: "When giving children an allowance, give them the
money in denominations that encourage saving."
"Financial Education for Kids"
from CNNMoney includes simple steps to follow, including start teaching your
children about money early, encourage their instinctive conservatism, use
allowance as an effective teaching tool, and teach teens about adult banking and
Secret Millionaires Club
uses cartoon video clips to teach business essentials such as save your money,
learn from your mistakes, find a mentor, share your knowledge, present yourself
well, learn something every day, and pursue your dreams.