The Sooner You Start, The Less Scary It Will Be
Speaking to your children about money can be difficult. Where do you start? What do you tell them? Our friend and colleague, Andrew Lendnal, has published 5 books regarding financial wellness. His book, Gold Start, was made for parents, caregivers, and teachers to provide them with the necessary tools to teach children about money. Today, we're going to be covering snippets from the first chapter of Gold Start: The sooner you start, the less scary it will be:
Three to five: It's never too early to turn them into junior tycoons
While your child doesn't need to become a stockbroker at age 3, it isn't too early to start incorporating games that have a financial backbone. One recommended game is playing shopkeeper. During this game, you can allow your toddler to be the owner of the shop and then you can switch roles and allow your toddler to purchase things from the store. This way, your child understands that to buy something there is a physical exchange of goods. You can also talk to them about coins, and that the different sizes mean they are worth different amounts.
Six to Eight: It's allowance time
It's a good idea to give your child a monthly allowance so they can learn how much the items they want cost. You can start off slow by handing them money and allowing them to count it. You can then ease into how much things cost by allowing them to pick the correct amount of money for a quick bite to eat. This is also a great time to start setting limits and show them that not everything costs the same. Is one orange juice more expensive than the other? If you bought the cheaper one you could include room for a cookie! Showing them that there are incentives to spending within your means will get your child's mind working about daily expenses.
Nine to Twelve: Big eyes, small wallets
During this age, it is appropriate for your child to start making money. That may mean odd jobs around the house, a paper route, and helping a neighbor. This is also around the age that children are starting to ask for a lot more stuff! Show them, in cash, what a month looks like and how much is allocated to what expenses. That might be inclusive of rent, mortgage, and utilities. Show them where your money has to go and why it might not be able to go to all of the extra things your child is asking for. You can also take them to the bank and establish a savings account for them to put their money in. Don't show them how to withdraw that money yet - that's usually an inherent trait!
What about Tweens: (12 to 14)?
When your child starts growing up and becoming a tween they will soon become more aware of your financial situation. It is normal for them to start evaluating their friend's lifestyle and comparing and contrasting it to your families. They will need help establishing limits on what to spend and why. This is the time to set goals and allow your child to realize that what they want is within reach but they have to plan for it.
When they reach their teens, your children will get serious about their independence. They start making impossible financial requests because of peer pressure. They also may engage in after school activities which can become extremely costly. You will have to be their guiding light showing them the differences between wants and needs. They also need to experience the good and bad consequences of spending. Allow them to make mistakes without ruining their financial future. This will be the time that children engrain what you have taught them throughout their life.
We will continue to cover Andrew's book, Gold Start, in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned! If you are interested in purchasing the book visit his website: www.andrewlendnal.com/books.