It’s never too early to teach your children or grandchildren the value of a dollar. Children and young adults with a solid understanding of the role money plays in their lives can develop the skills they need to manage their finances responsibly.
You can teach children as young as 5 or 6 the difference between wants and needs. If your child or grandchild receives an allowance or earns money by completing small chores around the house, you can use it to help demonstrate the concept of living within one’s means. Start with something as simple as showing them the grocery bill. The point is to get them thinking about money as something that needs attention and care.
With teens and young adults, you might introduce more complex concepts, such as investing, interest and using credit responsibly. You might even introduce them to your advisor for an objective point of view.
Five Financial Literacy Lessons for Summer
- Earning. Nothing says summer like chores. From cleaning rooms to cutting grass to washing cars, daily and weekly duties help fill piggy banks. More importantly, they help kids make the connection between work and pay – and appreciate the value of a dollar.
- Saving. Open a savings account in your child’s or grandchild’s name and encourage them to make regular deposits. Set a series of small, achievable savings goals to help build confidence and maintain interest in saving over time. You might commit to matching a portion of their savings to help preview the value of a 401(k) match that might come with their first job.
- Growing. Talk about how money earns interest. This teaches children to set more aside and avoid impulse spending, and shows how money can grow and compound over time.
- Spending. Helping children manage their spending is very important. Do they prefer buying things at the store every week or saving for something bigger? Planning like this helps children carefully consider their purchases – a skill that can pay dividends in adulthood when managing their own budgets.
- Giving. Teach children the importance of philanthropy by encouraging them to donate old toys and clothes, and maybe even small amounts of money, to a cause that’s important to them.