Master Your Money
Teaching Children About Finances
April 8, 2022
It is crucial that our youth know the basics of achieving financial freedom, but how do you approach teaching them? Fortunately, you’re making financial decisions every day and simply need to include kids and teens in the conversation.
Make it Real
Teaching about smart financial decisions doesn’t have to be a formalized lesson for your family. Experience is often the best teacher. You can give your children that experience by involving them in what you’re doing in a way that makes sense for their age.
For example, a trip to the grocery store is an excellent time for a child of any age to get some practice.
- Pre-K and Early Elementary School: Explain that everything you’re buying costs money. When you check out, let them swipe the card or hand the money over to the cashier and explain the transaction.
- Elementary school: Give the child some money to be in charge of while shopping— maybe $2-$5. Explain to them that they can spend that money however they want while showing them tradeoffs—like getting multiple inexpensive things means you can’t get one expensive item or vice versa.
- High School Kids: Let your teen take control of the groceries for one trip. Give them a budget and a list of things that you need. Let them manage the money for that trip and the best way to divide it up. For an extra challenge, you may include that you need “snacks for lunches,” but let them decide what exactly that means. If they buy too much or something too expensive, they won’t have enough left over for the other essentials on the list.
The key with these examples is getting kids to think about a budget and consider how much things cost when making financial decisions.
Have Some Fun
Many find that talking about finances causes either boredom or anxiety—or perhaps a mix of both. But it doesn’t have to be that way, especially not for you and your kids. Managing your finances wisely is the pathway to buying a new home, going on that vacation you’ve always wanted, or spending a fun night out with loved ones. Of course, it’s important to balance any conversations with the appropriate warnings and precautions, but the goal is to get your kids excited about the possibilities.
If you’re looking for some help in adding fun to the conversation, consider giving our virtual Financial Coach a try. We offer fun and educational activities and readings online – and your kids can choose adventure options that allow them to make smart financial decisions and manage their budgets.
Don’t Be Intimidated
Teaching about financial freedom covers many topics, some of which can get pretty complicated pretty fast. Thankfully, you don’t have to be an expert on everything to start the conversation. But the more you’re willing to touch on the tough stuff, the better foundation your kids will have when they’re forced to confront those things themselves. This could mean discussing 401Ks, taxes, investments, housing costs, and other topics that may seem intimidating on the surface. You can use the resources on our site or visit a branch and chat with one of our financial experts for more help.
Try our 3-minute activity, teens, which covers the following topics.
- The 50/30/20 budgeting rule
- Discerning your needs, wants, and savings.
- Seeing the big picture for managing your cash, whether you have a little or a lot.
Did You Know?
April is National Financial Literacy Month. Financial literacy includes many different financial skills and concepts. To be financially literate simply means having the know-how to make wise decisions with your finances—like managing a budget, borrowing money, paying for insurance, and saving for retirement. Learn more here.
About the Author
Movement Bank is dedicated to producing quality content that informs and educates readers about healthy financial habits. On our blog you'll also find information about our products, services, and promotions that may help you on your financial journey. To browse and learn more, visit our blog directly at movementbank.com/blog.