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5 Great ways to teach your kids about finances

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Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 01/28/24

Financial education equips kids for success later in life. If you’d like to teach your kids about finances, here are five key tips.

Recently a friend asked me, “What podcasts are you listening to lately?” 

I smiled as I answered, “Well, I really only listen to the Huberman Lab these days. But you should ask my kids. They listen to at least five different podcasts on a regular basis.” 

My friend thought this was hilarious, and it is pretty funny to hear that a nine-year-old and seven-year-old love listening to podcasts! Podcasts are great teaching tools for kids, with topics ranging from science to saint stories. The cool facts my kids learn from podcasts amaze me.

One of my kids’ favorite podcasts is Million Bazillion, a kids’ podcast about money and finances. It covers topics like why countries have different currencies, why some jobs make more than others, what is insurance, and how to save money, all explained in a super accessible kid-friendly way. My kids love it and have learned so much from it!

I’m really glad the podcast opens the door to conversations about money, because I think it’s one of the most important topics I can teach my kids. Financial education equips kids for success later in life in a crucial way. It’s really never too early to start educating them about money, but it’s also never too late!

If you’d like to teach your kids about finances, here are five key tips and tools I’ve learned over the years. 

1
Talk about money early and often

Money is such a taboo topic in our culture that it can feel weird talking about it even with our own children, but the more we model healthy financial habits, the better our kids can learn from them. Ideally, we can keep the conversations honest but positive (financial trauma can arise when a person grows up under great financial stress, and of course we don’t want to stress out our kids even when the budget is tight). 

These conversations can come up very naturally: For example, I explain to my kids the cost difference between eating out at a restaurant vs. making dinner at home. “By eating dinner at home every night instead of going to a restaurant, I can save that money and use it to take you on a fun outing instead,” I tell them. This kind of concrete and positive example makes it easy for kids to see prudent financial behavior in action. 

I found it helpful to read these tips about how to talk about money as a family: Keep it open and honest but positive and have these conversations early and often. Lots of parents like to teach kids a “give, save, spend” rule related to allowance or earnings from chores or other jobs.

2
Million Bazillion Podcast

I’ve already mentioned this great money podcast for kids, and it is a great tool to get these conversations going. My kids ask such interesting and thoughtful questions after listening to each episode! I love the topics introduced and how they are handled. Definitely check it out!

3
Greenlight Card

Greenlight is a debit card and app designed specifically for families to help children learn to manage, save and spend money (and even invest!).

Parents can set up automatic allowance payments, turn on chores or assignments that kids can get paid for as they check them off, transfer money into their account, and much more. 

I haven’t used this service myself, but definitely it’s on my radar for when my kids are a little older. You can read here about one mom’s experience using it for her preteen daughter. Note that there are also other debit cards for kids out there, so you may want to do some investigating to compare rates and customer reviews.

4
Finance 101 and 102 For Kids

The story behind thesebooks is so cool. The author, Walter Andal, is a husband and father of four children. His strong drive to help his own kids become financially literate, amplified by the lack of personal finance lessons in elementary and high schools, motivated him to create books designed to teach kids these important skills before they wind up in lifelong debt. 

The books explain “Money Lessons Children Cannot Afford to Miss.” With an MBA in International Finance, a bachelor’s degree in Management Economics, and more than twenty-five years of work experience in finance and healthcare, the author certainly has valuable knowledge to share with the whole family.

5
Stockpile Investing Platform

Stockpile is a platform for parents to teach investing in a hands-on way. It enables kids to buy real fractional shares of brands they love, turning theory into action. 

Stockpile facilitates engaging conversations so that investing can be a shared family activity that cultivates confidence, strategic thinking, and long-term perspectives from an early age. 

I have not used Stockpile myself, but it’s on my radar for when my kids are older. It looks like it might be useful for parents of teens in particular. As with debit cards, parents should consider all options when it comes to investment platforms — there are many out there to choose from.

Tags:
ChildrenFinanceMoneyParenting
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