After Monopoly: 5 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money
Education and Careers Youth financial education is a hot topic and a much-needed one in the U.S. Here are five ways to make a difference.
It’s no surprise that America’s youth (and adults) need financial education. But how bad is it?
The National Financial Educators Council’s (NFEC) tested teens on national financial literacy standards last year, and while 4.7 percent participants achieved a score at or above 90 percent (an academic A), a staggering 62.4 percent of participants scored at or under 69.9 percent (a D or an F!). We’ve got work to do!
Here are five ways to get started:
1. Teach experientially
You may have heard that people learn best by doing or direct experience. It’s true and it’s one of the best ways to teach youth about money. For example, we’ve seen great success with credit unions holding “Financial Reality Fairs,” a hands-on experience in which teens identify their career choice and starting salaries then complete a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary. They visit booths to make spending decisions and balance their budget with a financial counselor.
2. Make it engaging
In today’s busy world, you are competing with so many entertainment options—why not make financial literacy entertaining, too? There are a variety of “edu-tainment” options available.
3. “Pay yourself first” is great advice at any age
Sometimes it’s hard for kids to save because they want something right now. Remind them that any time they get money (from allowance, birthdays, etc), just saving a dollar or two can really add up. That’s a great habit too for them to start as early as possible.
Likewise, when youth are putting that money away, have them set goals. What are they saving for? How much is it? Talk to them about making a plan to get there (i.e.: “If you save $10 every two weeks, you’ll have the $50 for the video game you want in 2 1/2 months!”). This also could be an opportunity to encourage them to think about additional ways for them to make money by helping neighbors, selling toys, lemonade stand, etc.
5. Wants versus needs is key
A great way to talk about savings and money management with kids is to talk about the difference between wants and needs. This not only helps them prioritize spending but it’s an essential concept to learn, especially when they start to budget later in life.
One of the easiest things to do is get a piggy bank (or any container) and have them start saving small at any age. Just trying it for a few weeks or a month is a huge accomplishment and can lead to bigger and better things.