Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What Role Do You Play In Your Child's Financial Literacy?

It absolutely astounds me that financial literacy is not taught in most schools. Instead, if we want our children to be financially literate, the responsibility falls on our own shoulders. For many of us, we simply purchase our kids a piggy bank. Other times, lessons happen during teachable moments

But how many parents really teach their children about managing money wisely? How many show their children how to put some money aside for savings, some for giving, and some for spending? Who teaches their daughter what interest is? Who teaches their son about balancing a budget?

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Well, a recent study released by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) suggests that affluent Hispanic moms, with household incomes greater than $100,000, are working to be financially responsible, while striving to flawlessly manage all the household responsibilities. Yet, like many, they’re concerned about the state of their families’ finances and at times don’t know where to turn for help.  Like some moms, they too are trying to actively educate their children about finances and involve them in the family budgeting.

I would hazard to guess that this is not just Latina moms with household incomes over $100,000. I can honestly say that my husband and I don't make over $100,000 yet (hey, we might someday!), but I do know that we're trying to be financially responsible. And teaching our kids how to be responsible with money and become financially literate IS something we are actively working on. 

And yet, I can totally relate to 34% of the Hispanic moms in the study, who feel like they should be doing more to save for the future, but right now are struggling to just get by. I see our money just flowing right our of our bank account; medical bills, house payments, utilities, groceries, and gas, not to mention clothing for two growing kids, school supplies and classes just gobble it all up.

Take a look at this infographic that best explains the results of the study:

All of it is fascinating, but the thing that catches my eye the most is that last section which shows that on average, Latina moms are starting to educate their kids about finances when the latter are about 6.9 years old. This is probably a good age, and just a little older than mine were when I first created their three banks. But I think I was late and should have started sooner. 

When we go shopping, my kids always wind up asking me to buy them something. Sometimes I do, but usually I don't. It's because I want them to start thinking about the value of it. I tell them they can save their money and buy it on their own. Because I want them to work hard so that their satisfaction is that much greater when they use their own money to buy something. And because I want them to think carefully about what they spend their money on.

A few years ago, I read somewhere about creating three banks: One for saving, one for giving, and one for spending. I really liked the idea, so that's what we did. My daughter has done a great job of saving up money. She quickly learned to put a portion away, and eventually saved up almost $200 that she wanted to use to buy a dairy cow. Don't laugh. Because we did. (Aha! Now that picture up top makes sense!)

Anyway, my point in writing this whole article is to encourage you as a mom, to start thinking about how you are going to teach your child to be financially literate...and responsible. Their future depends on your thoughtful guidance. So sit down and figure out your strategy, then implement it. You'll be glad you did!

If you are looking for a few resources to help you begin teaching financial literacy, take a look at these...

Online Resources that Teach Financial Literacy

  • Banzai - a FREE online program that offers multiple education games to teach students ages 8-12, 13-18, and 16+. The best part? They are available in English AND SPANISH.
  • Rich Kid, Smart Kid - online games that teach smart money management.
  • MoneyTime - an online course for kids age 10-14. You can purchase a monthly subscription or pay an annual fee.
  • Juni - finance, investing, and entrepreneurship courses for kids ages 9-18. 

Books for Kids

Curricula & Downloads

Online curricula:

TpT Downloadable Lessons:

Kits & Games

Cashflow for Kids is a great board game to teach kids ages 6 to 10 money management skills.

And, finally, this kit from Dave Ramsey for kids ages 3 to 11:

featured image credit: © Can Stock Photo - dolgachov


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