Let’s Talk About Kids & Money
Recently, one of my favorite kids has become completely obsessed with money. He enjoys most old and obscure things, actually (how cool is that?), but dated coins and foreign currency especially.
It began last year, when he started collecting and playing with coins and cash. At the time, we used his newfound financial interest to our advantage and began practicing grouping and counting. He was learning and he loved it!
Since, he’s become so consumed by money—his new favorite thing—that he wants to go with me to the bank and even hopes to visit the Denver Mint. He got a wallet at age 5, and he asked us for a small safe at Christmas. (He got it.)
These days, he earns an allowance for washing the dishes, which is a godsend after a long day of work, followed by housework, homework help, and cooking. For the most part, he saves every penny. I don’t even want to tell you how much he’s accumulated. (Let’s just say, we joke he’s “kindergarten rich.”)
He wants to know how much things cost, how much is in my purse, my bank accounts, and on my paychecks. He’s curious about how much others make, as well, along with the contrast between my earnings and, for example, those of other family members, classmates’ parents, or his teachers.
He’s not the first kid to love money and he won’t be the last. But while we want him to know and appreciate that his Hot Wheels cars and tracks do cost money, and that dad and I work hard to make that money, we also don’t want him fixating on it or letting it become what’s most important.
After all, money can’t buy you love… or happiness.
The best things
J-Lo told me at a young age that her “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” My dad reinforced that message in telling me often, “Stephanie, the best things in life are free.” And, everyone knows that “money doesn’t grow on trees” but, it does come freely from an ATM and, at a young age, that can be confusing. So, how do we un-muddy the waters?
We can all agree that we want our kids to understand the value of money, and it’s important that we do so without allowing them to be overcome by it. In fact, experts say children as young as 3 years old can grasp big-picture financial concepts like saving and spending money. Still, we’re not necessarily teaching practical financial basics in grade school.
Begging the question: If you don’t teach your kids how to manage money, who will?
According to Beth Kobliner, author of the New York Times bestseller Get a Financial Life, parents are the top influencers of their children’s financial behaviors. Meaning, it’s up to us to raise a generation of mindful consumers, investors, savers, and givers.
I don’t know about you, but in our home we plan to give our kids every available advantage.
For tips to give your kids a head start at a young age from money man Dave Ramsey, check out How to Teach Preschoolers & Kindergarteners About Money at 82717Life.com.