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Finances! Young Grasshopper
When should you start talking with your kids about money and finances?

Kaia Lai (www.kaialai.com)
It's never too early to start teaching your kids about moeny and finances.

My wife and I want to ensure our kids are raised to understand finances and budgets. How can we get them involved in our financial goals?

I bet you can remember the first time you saw a one hundred dollar bill or the first time you received some money from the tooth fairy. I am sure whatever the occasion or circumstance surrounding it, a child’s first encounter and awareness of money is a moment of pure awe and excitement. Isn’t it funny how even as adults, payday still brings out a little of those feelings? Money is a token and slice of abundance which brings with it its own set of emotions. The tragedy for most of us is that we didn’t learn the words and language which innately goes with these feelings. This is why some adults mishandle or lack the confidence in handling money.

It all starts with what you learn about money and your relationship to it as you mature. As with any new subject, money has its own language (jargon) and rules (principles) which need to be learned in order to master the topic. And the earlier you start the more knowledge one has from the experiences applied and opportunities taken.

Most parents, at some point, have asked themselves or others the "what" and "how" you teach your children about money and the value of it. For most this is an overwhelming set of concerns primarily because we were never taught in a formal way what money is and how we value it.

Not to fear, we are in the age of information and this generation will be the smartest generation about money and finances we have ever produced as a nation. I believe this financial education revolution will start in a couple of ways:
  1. With the education of parents to improve their own knowledge and face their own fears about money, or
  2. Through the direct education of our children through formal and informal money learning games and activities
To address the latter, I have be given the permission from Paul Richard who is the executive director of The Institute of Consumer Financial Education to reprint some of his principles. Ten ways to teach your kids about money.

As soon as children can count, introduce them to money.

Communicate with children as they grow about your values concerning money.

Help children learn the differences between needs, wants and wishes. This will prepare them for making good spending decisions in the future.

Setting goals is fundamental to learning the value of money and saving.

Introduce children to the value of saving versus spending.

When giving children an allowance, give them the money in denominations that encourage saving. Take children to a credit union or bank to open their own savings accounts.

Keeping good records of money saved, invested or spent is another important skill young people must learn.

Use regular shopping trips as opportunities to teach children the value of money.

Allow young people to make spending decisions.

Paul really covers most of the major issues here and offers a great starting point. In addition, there are a few web sites like www.ingdirect.com and www.richkidsmartkid.com. These are interactive learning websites which can assist in the learning process and make it fun.

I feel the most important issue when it comes to teaching about money is to convey a continuous message that money is a powerful tool when used correctly. But, only by giving via tithing and charity do we know the true value of money. Showing our children what it feels and looks like to give—we are truly giving them riches which can never be lost. I wish you much success in this learning journey.

*Mike Gurnicz of Discover U, contributed to this article.

Vice President Brian D. Brogan of H.G. Wellington & Co. Inc. Mr. Brogan can be reached at bdb@signalreport.com or 610-896-8823.

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