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5 Ways to Teach Financial Literacy to your Children

By: Kenyon Sutton, Financial Wellness Manager

Posted on 5/30/2023 9:47:09 AM

Are you interested in teaching your children about financial literacy? By introducing basic money concepts at an early age, you can pave the way for their future financial success. Setting a positive example within your household and incorporating enjoyable and interactive learning methods can make the process engaging for children. In this article, we will explore the importance of teaching financial literacy from a young age and provide practical tips and activities to help children grasp the principles of money management.

1. Start Early

Financial literacy involves using knowledge to make informed decisions about money. It is crucial to begin teaching these concepts early, as research suggests that many financial habits are formed by the age of 9. By introducing smart money management and behaviors during elementary school and their formative years, children can gain awareness, valuable skills, and positive attitudes towards money.  

2. Saving for a Toy or Item

One effective way to teach children about saving and budgeting is by having them save money to purchase a toy they desire. Whether its money received from birthdays, Christmas, chores, or their piggy bank, children can accumulate funds towards their goal. Teach children the correlation between earning and saving by introducing age-appropriate chores or tasks they can complete to earn money. This could be helping with household chores, gardening, or assisting neighbors with small tasks. Emphasize that saving is not just about saving gift money, but also about allocating a portion of their earnings towards their savings goal. Encourage your child as they save and help them track their progress.

It could be a toy, a game, or even a larger item they desire. Help them determine the cost of their goal and work together to create a savings plan. Break down the total amount into smaller milestones, making it easier for children to track their progress and celebrate their achievements along the way. This activity instills the concept of delayed gratification and highlights the importance of perseverance and patience. Explain to them that saving is not limited to toys; adults also save for significant purchases like homes, cars, vacations, as well as smaller items when shopping online. This instills the value of working towards financial goals.

3. Teaching Saving and Budgeting in Other Ways

Demonstrate the concept of saving by encouraging younger children to save pocket change in a piggy bank or jar as they watch their funds visually grow over time. Older children can practice setting personal financial goals through journaling their expenses and saving. As the next step, consider opening a savings account for them. At Community First, we offer a Youth Advantage Savings Account for children aged 12 and below.

By involving them in real-life financial decision-making and encouraging them to allocate a portion of their earnings to savings, children can gain firsthand experience of responsible money management.

4. Be a Financial Role Model

Children learn by observing behaviors and attitudes, so it is crucial to be a good role model through having financial habits and being a positive example for your children. Set an example by demonstrating healthy money management practices. Engage in open conversations about why certain financial decisions are made, using language appropriate for their understanding.

Involve children in household financial activities, such as grocery shopping, where you can demonstrate the value of seeking discounts, comparing prices, and making cost-effective choices. Encourage older children to explore higher-level concepts such as retirement funds like a 401K or the power of compounding interest. By showing them how a small amount of money can grow exponentially over time, you can spark their interest in long-term financial planning.

5. Incorporating Real-Life Examples

To enhance children's understanding of financial concepts, it is essential to relate them to real-life situations. Parents can have open discussions about money and involve children in financial decisions, such as planning a family budget or saving for a vacation.

Explain the difference between needs and wants, teaching them to prioritize spending based on their financial resources. When shopping, demonstrate the importance of comparison shopping, finding deals, and using coupons to save money. Encourage children to think critically.

Teaching financial literacy to children is essential for their long-term financial well-being. Equipped with this knowledge, children can grow into financially responsible adults who make smart decisions about money. By providing them with the necessary tools and fostering open dialogue, we can help children develop strong money management skills. Remember, educated children become financially healthy adults capable of setting and achieving their financial goals.

For more information on how to nurture your child's financial well-being, explore the details of our youth accounts or consider enrolling your teenager in our moveUP Financial Wellness program, Achieve for K12.

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