You may think talking to kids about money is taboo, but it’s never too early to start teaching them about this important topic. Research shows that most children form their money habits as young as age 7. As a financial advisor, I work with clients to develop a plan that helps them pursue their financial goals with confidence. This means that sometimes I educate them about how to better manage their finances.
If I can teach what I know to my kids, they won’t have to unlearn bad money habits later on, or experience some of the same challenges I see with my clients. So, how exactly do you talk to kids about money? Here are some age-appropriate ideas to start the conversation.
When kids are very young, before they enter elementary school, the best way to teach them about money is to engage them in activities and games that reinforce money concepts. For ages preschool through 1st grade, you could play games to learn about money using subjects they enjoy. For example, if your kid likes to play with food, have them open a pretend restaurant using a toy kitchen and pay them for your meal using fake money.
As children get older, you can begin teaching them more complex subjects like budgeting. Around ages 7-10, they should be able to grasp the idea of strategically planning how to spend their money. A great way to make this topic more fun is to engage with them in some budgeting activities. Another hands-on lesson is to include them on grocery trips and have them help make decisions about what food to buy. Or give them a budget for their holiday spending and teach them to look at pricing before they fall in love with a toy or gift for someone.
Middle and High School
By this age, most kids have developed their money habits, good or bad, but they can still learn some financial lessons. For children ages 11-13, you can begin teaching about taxes and how it affects a paycheck. They may not have a W-2 job yet, but even money they make from side gigs like babysitting and mowing lawns can be an opportunity to set expectations for how to manage their income. This is also an opportunity to encourage your children in their entrepreneurial endeavors, teaching them some basic business principles, such as budgeting for expenses and marketing.
Once kids get to high school and start working a regular job, they really begin learning the impact of taxes and the importance of budgeting. This is a good time to help them open a checking and savings account and teach them how to keep track of their finances. If you’re looking for more ways to teach your kids about various money topics, this organization has some great resources and activities that are good for any age.
The Most Important Lesson
There are many other money lessons I could pass down to my kids, but what I want most is for them to develop good long-term money habits. Our children learn best by doing, so we must practice what we preach. It’s also helpful to participate in these money lessons with our kids; for example, taking them to the bank to open a checking or savings account when they’re ready, or bringing them along when we make deposits or review our budget.
At Horizon Planning Group, we don’t just tell our clients what they should do with their money, we partner with them to create a financial plan that helps them take control of their future. If you could benefit from a trusted financial partner, reach out to schedule an introductory meeting online or reach out to me directly at (770) 627-4157 or Nick@MyHorizonPG.com to get started.
Nick Marrano is a financial advisor at Horizon Planning Group, a full-service financial planning firm committed to always doing what’s right for their clients. With almost 10 years of experience, Nick spends his days serving his military and first responder clients who give their lives to serve others. As a former U.S. Marine, he understands their challenges and desires to help his clients navigate their military benefits and customize a plan to their lifestyle that allows them to pursue their goals with confidence.
Nick has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Kennesaw State University. He lives in Marietta, Georgia, with his wife, daughter, and their two dogs. His favorite things to do are being outdoors with his family, traveling, and completing projects around the house, but he also won’t say no to unwinding with his friends and playing Xbox. Nick cares deeply about his community and gives back by volunteering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and local charities that support foster care needs. To learn more about Nick, connect with him on LinkedIn.
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