When is the right time to start teaching kids about money? Should you wait until they buy their new car or apply for a first credit card? Actually, your kids can start understanding a concept of money when they can verbally ask for a toy.
However, if you are looking for the signs that will show you that kids are ready to talk about money, look for these signs and start your money conversation early rather than later.
What are the signs that tell you that you should
teach your kids about money?
Do they Ask for a Big Ticket Item? Even if you can afford a big thing, it doesn’t mean that you should buy it. If they ask for something that expensive, it is a time for a conversation about delayed gratification. Of course, these are not the words you are going to use with a 5-year old, but you can certainly chat about small toys and big toys, inexpensive toys vs expensive toys. Would your child rather have a small toy now or a big toy in 5 weeks (or whatever the period of time you set)? Get you paper and crayons and start drawing: five little toys = 1 big toys. If you skip little toys – in five weeks you can have a bigger toy. In some cases, the answer will be no and that’s ok – go for a small one now. There will be an opportunity to teach your kids money again soon.
Do They Call your Shopping Lame? Most of the times our children think that our shopping habits are lame and I have to agree – I’d rather be laptop shopping than standing at the checkout lane at the grocery store. However, if you child actually voiced his opinion about the quality of shopping, ask him what should you not buy. At home as you unload your bags sort the “lame” items away and tell your child that this week he won’t have any lame things. Replace lame products with even lamer food (like oatmeal as I am not the biggest fan, but, of course, you probably have your own unfavorites).
Can they count? If they can do the math – they are ready for the talk. 10 visit to a dollar gums over period of time or something big – cycle
Do Your Feel the Pressure? If you feel that your child is asking for something that would put pressure on you today, tomorrow, down the road, it is time to sit down teach your children about money.
My daughter wants to go to a summer camp I can’t afford. We talked dollars and she decided to earn money by doing a variety of chores and gigs.
College Fund – If your child asked you about their college fund.
Pay Me, Mom! – If they think they should be paid for home chores
Oops, I Dropped It! If they damaged something – pay it in chores or whatever
Everyone Has It! If they feel that their friends have money toys
Asked and Answered If they are able to ask for something, they are ready to listen.
Teach Your Children Money through Play
Make a game out of reading a credit card bill together! Highlight different categories of purchases with various markers and count how many time you got gas, how many times you want to the supermarket
Check out one of these financial games that teach kids how to handle credit cards
Thrive Time for Teens
Thrive Time for Teens is a board game for kids 13+. In this game players are faced with decisions such as buying cars, managing expenses, charitable giving, using credit and paying for college. $29.95
The Game of Life Twists and Turns
The Game of Life Twists and Turns has an updated version of the old favorite; it offers dozens of new life choices centered on the core themes of living, learning, earning and living. Goodbye play money; hello charge cards!
Monopoly: Electronic Money
Monopoly: Electronic Money. Same game. But the cash is gone and you buy Boardwalk by swiping your bank card.
Beat Debt is a board game for kids 10+. Here you can use your disposable income for investing or paying off credit card debt. The first person to pay off debt and have an investment balance of $5,000 wins. $39.99
Charge Large is a board game for kids 12+. Purchase buildings and businesses with a combination of cash and credit and watch your credit-card limits increase. To win, you need to have zero debt. $24.99
Celebrity Calamity is an online game for young adults, where players are financial managers for stars who spend beyond their means. This game teaches the value of minimizing credit card finance charges, avoiding late fees and making good APR choices. Free
Stage Coach Island
Stage Coach Island is another online, virtual game for kids 14+. Learn how to maintain good credit using credit cards, use your money wisely and chat with real people via online messages. Free
Jump$tart’s Reality Check
Jump$tart’s Reality Check is a quick quiz for kids – fill in the choices on the next page to see if you can afford your dream life. FREE
Put your financial skills to the test with Visa’s World Cup-themed Financial Soccer, a multiple choice question video game for kids 11+. FREE
Give your brain a Financial Football workout — play the NFL-themed video game developed by Visa for kids 11+. FREE
This is an online gameNavigate Money Metropolis’ multi-dimensional world while making life decisions that will affect whether virtual bank accounts shrink or grow. FREE
Peter Pig’s Money Counter
Peter Pig’s Money Counter is an app for ages 5–8. Join Peter Pig and learn to recognize U.S. coins and understand the value of saving. FREE
Road Trip to Savings
Meet the challenges of a month with Road Trip to Savings on the road as you steer your way to financial stability and make decisions about income and savings. FREE
Do you have tips on teaching money management? Share with us – we’d love to know!