Piggy banks, allowance, and college savings plans. Having toddlers, a tween, and teen means that I’m at several money stages with kids. The twins want to claim every penny they find, and think it’s enough to buy a new car. My tween is finally realizing how much he has to work for the money he needs for the things he wants. My teen is stressing about saving for college and scholarships.
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Making a Money Genius Kid At Any Age
I am no money genius. I’ve had my share of debt, bounced checks (are those even a thing anymore?!) and financial stresses. I say this because it doesn’t take a money genius parent to make a money genius kid. I’ve learned a few things over the years, and I’m still learning, what it takes to make a money genius kid. These things have helped me, as well as a fantastic new resource.
Making a Money Genius Kid: Toddlers
They may be little, but toddlers and preschoolers already show interest in money. Digging in mom’s purse for change, and play cash registers with credit cards. Money is a part of every day life from early on. Take advantage of that and turn it into age appropriate conversations.
- Talk about saving spare change in a piggy bank for a future toy or outing.
- On short grocery store trips, let them help pay at checkout and talk about the total and change.
- When they dig in your purse, explain to them what wallets are and what they hold.
- Talk about play money and credit cards during play time.
Making a Money Genius Kid: Tweens
Tweens and money can be a daily struggle, at least in my house. Lots of wants, but limited ways to earn money. Over the past year, my son has started thinking about the bigger picture. Now, he doesn’t run off and spend money as soon as he earns. He plans out his purchases, and saves up for what he wants. He’s also asking more questions about paychecks and bills. Those are great conversations to start having, but again, age and detail appropriate.
- Talk about earning a paycheck at a job, and taxes.
- Talk about household bills and how much things cost, like television and internet.
- Open a savings account and encourage them to save gift money.
- Make a list of seasonal ways they can earn money by helping family, friends, or around the neighborhood.
- Some schools now offer in-school banks with incentives. If your child’s school offers that, it is a great thing to look into!
Making a Money Genius Kid: Teens
My oldest will be 16 this year. 16! She has no interest in getting her license, but college is a hot topic most days. She takes AP classes and could very well have college credits before she graduates. Basically, college is pretty much a guarantee for her and with it comes a hefty cost. College savings, and getting a job are money conversations to have with teens. My daughter is eagerly awaiting her first job, and recently opened up a savings account in anticipation of getting one.
- Open a savings account with a debit card or checks so they can learn good spending habits.
- If they are working, help them plan out a monthly budget.
- Start talking about college and start a savings account if you haven’t.
- Involve them in some of the bill paying process, so they can learn. How they are paid, how often, and what happens if you get behind.
Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You’re Not)
You can find lots of great tips and advice in personal finance expert, journalist, and bestselling author Beth Kobliner’s new book, Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You’re Not). This jargon-free, step-by-step guide helps parents teach their kids, from ages three to twenty-three, about money. I recently received an advanced copy, and one of my favorite things are the “teachable moments” that allow parents to learn how to teach their kids character traits that are important in all aspects of life. Things like a strong work ethic, the ability to exert self-control and to weigh our choices carefully, the perseverance to work toward distant goals, and a giving spirit. All things I’m working on with both my tween and teen.
Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You’re Not) is based on the latest research from the fields of psychology, child development, and behavioral economics. The chapters are divided into the many stages of a child’s development, so parents can read through or reference whenever needed. A few of the chapters include rules for talking to your kids about money, drop debt, the plain truth about investing, give back, and more.