Tips for Teaching Kids about Money
Most people believe parents should be teaching children about finances – but research suggests that’s not happening.
Parents want their children to have a good handle on finances before venturing out on their own, but surveys show most aren’t sharing the necessary wisdom to make that happen.
The National Financial Educators Council administers a 30-question financial literacy test to participants ages 10 and up in all 50 states each year.
*Nationwide, 15-18 year-olds have 62% financial literacy.
T. Rowe Price’s 2017 Parents, Kids and Money survey found 69 percent of parents have some reluctance discussing financial matters with kids. About 35 percent of parents rated the “money talks” either very or extremely uncomfortable – ranking it alongside talks about death and drugs.
Partly, parents may feel too self-conscious about their own financial situation to be comfortable sharing with their children. The T. Rowe Price survey found parents who have declared bankruptcy are 24 percent more reluctant to discuss money with their kids. Parents carrying more than $5,000 in credit card debt are 14 percent more likely to feel uneasy having those financial conversations.
To make is easier, here are five tips to teaching children financial literacy:
- Set an example. Children who consistently see their parents pay the bills on time and keep up a budget are more likely to adopt those practices in their own lives. Don’t shy away from sharing financial mistakes either. That knowledge can equip kids to avoid the same mistakes with their money.
- Make savings a tangible concept. Encourage younger kids to collect spare change in a clear jar or container so they can see their savings grow. Each time the kids want a treat, parents can put to cost of the treat into a “savings jar.” Once the jar is full, children can count the money and use the funds to purchase an extra-special treat. They’ll soon associate a sense of excitement with savings – and understand that delaying instant gratification can lead to greater rewards.
- Have kids learn with their own money. Younger children who are paid a small allowance for chores will learn the concept of working for money. Kids can then begin to spend their own money, and appreciate what items actually cost. Teenagers should be encouraged to get a job, even if it’s a part-time during weekends or vacation periods.
- Get kids familiar with banking. Let kids in on the process of visiting your financial institution – maybe even let them press the buttons on the ATM or help to fill out a deposit slip. Getting familiar with banking processes will help them feel more confident about banking later in their lives. Pre-teens can open their own checking accounts and become familiar with managing their money and the use of debit cards. At Skyward, youth can get started with an Aviator’s Crew Savings Account and Skyhawk Checking Account – which can easily be set up with a guardian.
- Get help. There are plenty of resources out there for parents feeling mystified about their children’s financial education. At Skyward.com, you will find lessons and games for financial education at all age levels in our Practical Money Skills website.