If personal finance classes were mandatory in our schools, would our nation experience many of the economic problems it faces today? It’s a good question, but largely moot. Many elementary and secondary school systems offer some money education, but not as a K-12 discipline. Preparing our children for the financial real world needs to begin at home.
Depending on your child’s age and interests, here are some fun and safe ways to start family conversations about the value of money, setting a budget, and building savings goals for the future.
1. Go on a walk through the neighborhood and brainstorm jobs that your child might be able to do to earn extra money, such as raking leaves, walking dogs, washing cars and so on.
2. Play a board game that teaches money concepts. A few ideas: “Payday,” “Monopoly,” and “The Game of Life.”
3. Take a tour of a bank and talk about what banks do and how to use banks responsibly.
4. Have a shopping contest. Make a grocery list and see who spends the least to get everything on the list.
5. Let your child practice writing checks (except the signature) to pay some of your bills. Have them bring your check register up-to-date.
6. Start a small business together. Plan what you will do (make greeting cards, mow lawns, etc.), how much it will cost to get started, what you will charge and how you will find customers.
7. If you decide to loan money to your child, charge interest so they can learn the ramifications of borrowing.
8. Ask your kids to clip coupons for items you buy at the grocery store. For every dollar saved from these coupons, share a percentage of your savings with them.
9. When you buy something at a store, have your child pay for it with cash so he or she can count out the money and practice making correct change.
10. As you walk through a store, have a contest to see how many items you each can list that are “needs” and “wants.”
11. For every dollar your child saves, add a percentage more — for example, a dime for each dollar — to illustrate the concept of earning interest.
12. Plan a vacation together. Talk about places you might go as a family, what it will cost, how much the family can spend, and then reach a decision together. Brainstorm ways your kids can earn spending money for the vacation.
13. Implement a family budget. Explain to your kids why you need to cut back on spending and together set a goal to reduce the family’s spending by, for example, 10 percent. Ask for ideas on how each family member will contribute toward reaching this goal.
14. Cash your next paycheck and ask the kids to join you as you pay bills for the month, counting out the cash to illustrate how money works in tangible terms. If you don’t have enough cash to cover every bill, discuss the decisions you will have to make.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. This column is produced by the Financial Planning Association (FPA), the membership organization for the financial planning community, and is provided by Kim N. Huber, CFP® a local member of FPA. Kim is a registered representative with and securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. (LPL #1-093406)
Kim can be reached at www.RedRockFinancialGroup.com