Teaching your kids to save their allowance in their piggy banks is great—but the money lessons should go even deeper. What they learn about spending and saving money now can set them up for success—or failure.
Only 10 percent of kids feel extremely knowledgeable about personal finance, according to a 2017 survey by T. Rowe Price. So what’s a parent to do? These five lessons can help your kid—from kindergarten to the early teen years—be financially savvy.
1. You have to earn money to spend it
The lesson: The game your child wants? It costs money in order to buy it. Show your kids that they can’t always get what they want—they must have money to pay for it.
The action: Consider playing store with your kids by setting up an imaginary shop—just grab a few things they like such as cookies or art supplies. They can learn the basics of commerce by exchanging pretend money for the items. For older kids, have them contribute money to a special purchase.
2. Hard work pays off—literally
The lesson: Show your kids how the money that your family spends and saves comes from working. Earning their own money will help build their confidence and independence, and they’ll gain an appreciation for the value of a dollar once they recognize the hard work it takes to earn it.
The action: Take young kids around your community and point out people at work, such as a police officer, truck driver or school crossing guard. This can help paint a clear picture that money is earned from the exchange of skills and services. Encourage your children to earn a little cash by setting up a lemonade stand or by completing chores for an allowance.
3. You need to budget
The lesson: Sixty-four percent of children are likely to spend their allowance right away, according to a survey from T. Rowe Price. It’s important to help kids understand needs vs. wants, and how to plan for what they truly have to spend. Showing them how to prepare a basic budget is a key step toward sustaining financial independence.
The action: Help your kids develop a budget and store their money in clear containers that are marked for spending and saving. Using something that’s clear will help kids see their money growing. Understanding where their money is going is a big part of money management skills, so encourage them to keep track of where they spend their money by using a notebook or mobile device. Consider having them keep a wish list to help prioritize their spending.