Teach Your Kids About Money – Part 03

During this series of posts, I am sharing some ways that Jenn and I are teaching our daughter about money.

Step ONE:  YOU have the primary responsibility for teaching your children about money!

The school is not going to teach them about money at all.  The marketers are going to teach them that they should buy it now – whether they have the money or not!  If you do not teach your kids, who will?

Step TWO:  Walk The Talk

Your kids watch everything you do.  You are their biggest hero.  What are you teaching them?

Step THREE:  Provide opportunities for your children to learn about money

It is incredibly important that your children are able to apply what they are learning about money.   When Melea was 4 or 5, she was saving up her money for a big purchase – a Care Bear.  This purple Care Bear came with a DVD and everything – can life be any better if one has a purple Care Bear?

This bear had a selling price of around $18, so as you might imagine it took a long time for Melea to save up for this purchase.  Now, this is a large purchase AND it is a Care Bear AND the money would do better in a mutual fund, but how can you have a teachable moment if you don't let children have some running room?

So the big day arrived!  $18 was saved, and it was time to make the purchase.  Teachable Moment:  If you save diligently, the day will come to make the purchase! 

Melea and I had a "daddy-daughter date night" (we have one every month).  She chose to eat at Ponderosa Steakhouse Buffet (because they had unlimited amounts of mac-n-cheese), and then it was time to make the purchase.

We went into Wal-Mart, picked out the Care Bear and headed to the checkout.  There was no one in line at the checkout and Melea began counting out her money (nickels, dimes, and quarters).  By the time she was done counting, we had over ten people standing in line behind us.  I was so proud!  My daughter had SAVED for this purchase!!!  Teachable Moment For Parents:  If you teach your children this stuff early and often, you will have the opportunity to stand back and watch your children win financially in the long run!

Flash forward three years.  The Care Bear has now rested comfortably for at least a year at the bottom of the stuffed animal box.  You can probably buy one at a yard sale for $1.  Teachable Moment:  It's OK to buy stuff, but what would have happened to that $18 if you had put it in a mutual fund?

Provide the opportunities for your children to learn about money.  It is AWESOME to watch them learn!

Question Of The Day:  What opportunities are you providing your child to learn about money?

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3 Responses to “Teach Your Kids About Money – Part 03”

  1. JW Thornhill September 26, 2007 at 3:08 am #

    Thank you very much for making this post. It is very timely for me personally.

  2. Julie Brown September 26, 2007 at 3:33 am #

    Joe – hanging on to every word of this series for sure! My children are 5 and 8. We have tried a list of “chores” with money earned but weren’t able to come up with many that either child could do. Any suggestions from either you or anyone else reading this blog? We can’t wait to get somethgn in place especially now tha the kids have come home with their football banks from NewSpring!

  3. Jon Smock September 26, 2007 at 7:44 am #

    I absolutely agree with the “running room” you need to give kids. Some of the greatest lessons I learned in money were lessons I ended up teaching myself early one:

    When I was about 10, I spent $60 to buy a Tyco hovercraft. I loved hovercrafts, and I thought for sure this would be by far the coolest thing I owned. But, the battery died in a hour, it took forever to charge the battery, the hovercraft worked well in some situations but not all situations…this wasn’t the blissful experience I thought it would be.

    Basically, I learned that when you make big purchases like a hovercraft (or a Care Bear….or a car nowadays) you really have to think about it and examine what you’re buying.

    Good stuff, Joe.

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