One minute, kids are 4 years old, and before you know it, you blink and they are graduating high school. Time flies – I am certain most parents would agree. During that precious time that kids grow up and mature, they are all over the map in more ways than one.
It’s never too early to start teaching your kids about money. It’s never too early for them to learn, and as they get older, they will be young adults in training. As they age, take the initiative to teach them what they need to know so that they will survive on their own — especially when it’s time for them to move out and live on their own.
Kids spend a great majority of their childhood in school; while they learn about things from mathematics to American history, chemistry and algebra, one thing that isn’t covered to deeply is personal finance. Once they graduate and enter college, they will realize that managing their finances is crucial for their success. While loans and payments are all too common options for college, new vehicles and houses, it doesn’t have to be that way for everyone.
While most people have good intentions of teaching their children about money, it doesn’t always happen that way. When I think back to my own childhood, I reflect on my parents – my father was always working. As a business owner, he took the initiative to involve us in earning our own paycheck as young as 14 years of age. He was always open enough to tell us that saving up for our purchases was best and that financing (cars for example) was not the way to go. Thirty years later, I find myself discussing the same lessons with my own kids.
For others, though, life happens and teaching kids about money falls to the wayside. However, your child can be successful with money and it all starts with a little bit of educating. Here are some of the best resources of teaching your kids about money.
#1. You are a great resource – yes YOU
While you don’t know everything about money, you are a great resource for teaching your kids about money. Your kids are watching you and see the pattern you create with your money. Do they see you struggling to pay bills? Do you answer their questions about money? A good resource is always the parent, hopefully you have your money figured out.
Talk to your kids about the basic points of personal finance – not just saving money, but contentment – for a content heart will never look to unnecessary purchases for inner fulfillment. Talk to them about college, and help them understand that college doesn’t necessarily mean they need to loan money. It is possible to pursue college without financial aid, and it might require a very strong sense of determination to get there.
What will your kids drive when they score their drivers license? Help them make a plan to work towards that vehicle starting now – a car loan isn’t necessarily a successful way for a child to start their adulthood.
These basic conversations, though deep, can be started with kids as young as 6 or 7 – we have these conversations all the time. It’s a wonderful learning opportunity and gives them a chance to think about reality – it might even prompt them to offer to work to earn commissions at home to work towards their savings goals.
#2. Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Junior
Sometimes parents just need a tool to help their children learn about money in the best way possible. This is where Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Junior comes in. It’s a game designed to help teach kids about money. Teaching your kids that money comes from work is important.
If you can, encourage your kids to listen to the occassional podcast or, to Dave on his radio show as you run errands around town. It might not be as “fun” to listen to as their popular music choices, but being able to identify Dave on the radio is a great start. Mine know him without even really “knowing” him — if I turn on the radio, they listen – and they will pick up notable parts and ask questions. Sometimes that small conversation can lead to bigger and better questions over time.
#3. Smart Money Smart Kids
Can you tell that Dave Ramsey is a leader in finances? The Smart Money Smart Kids can help you teach your kids about money. Teaching your kids to spend wisely and give generously can be hard, however, it’s doable. When you really don’t know where to start with teaching your kids about money, this is a good resource.
If you have the opportunity to attend a Smart Money Smart Kids
By signing up for a free sneak peek, you’ll receive seven days of access to the first two videos from lesson one. Study at home (with a membership) or, take a class with other parents or groups in your local area.
#4. Check out the library
If you really don’t have a lot of money to spend on resources, then head to the library. There are so many books and resources available. Pick out a few, take them home, and start reading. The more knowledge you have on money, the more you info you can pass onto your kids. As mentioned before, you’re the #1 best resource for your kids learning about money.
Several years ago, we used our local library to pick up several of Dave Ramsey’s books about money (Total Money Makeover, More than Enough, and more). Eventually I did purchase the books and read them each several times through (it was so hard not to!), but if you aren’t up for purchasing, the library is a wonderful option. In many cases, the books will require you to be on a waiting list – so reserve early!
#5. Get money out to teach your kiddo
Sitting down with your kids, with money in hand, is a great way to start teaching them about money. Grab a few dollars and coins and help your kids understand the basics of money. Sit down with your kids and talk to them about money. Talk to them about how doing extra chores helps them to earn extra money.
#6. Utilize the Internet
Oh boy, the Internet is such a great place for all things learning. Some of my favorite websites, dedicated to helping teach kids about money includes the following:
Teaching your kids about money isn’t always the easiest task — y’all… it can be a challenge. It’s easier to talk about money with my oldest daughter than with my boys — and heck, it’s almost easier for me to talk about money with her than it is my own spouse – and he’s well into adulthood at this point!
If anything, it’s a sacrifice – if you want your kids to have a better understanding of how money works, there is no better time than the present. I personally prefer for my kids learn about money from the parents who helped raise them for 18 years over a complete stranger, money mailer, or brick and mortar institution that doesn’t have their best interest at heart.