Teaching your children about money and finances is easiest when you start early. Here’s a quick review of what you should teach your children at each age if you want them to become financially competent adults.
Preschool – Skills to Teach
* Identify coins and bills; learn what each is worth.
* Understand that you can’t buy everything; choices are necessary.
* Save money in a piggy bank.
Grade School – Skills to Teach
* Read price tags; learn comparison shopping.
* Do money arithmetic; make change.
* Manage an allowance; use it to pay for some of child’s own purchases.
* Open a savings account and learn about interest.
* Participate in family financial discussions about major purchases, vacation choices, etc.
Teens – Skills to Teach
* Work to earn money.
* Budget for larger purchases.
* Learn to use a checking account.
* Learn about investing – stocks, mutual funds, CDs, IRAs, etc.
* Share in financial planning (and saving) for college.
College/Young Adult – Skills to Teach
* Learn about borrowing money (interest, default, etc.).
* Use credit card judiciously.
* Participate in family estate planning discussions.
Knowing about money – how to earn it, use it, invest it, and share it – is a critical life skill. It’s never too early to start teaching your children about financial matters.