Saving – and your kids. The very subject strikes fear into the hearts of moms and dads everywhere. Why is that? Because there’s not a lot of straightforward guidance out there on how to teach your kids about saving and investing – or about what investment options exist for your kids. On this page, I’ll give you a summary of resources you can use to find out how to teach your kids about saving – and what options you have.
Teaching kids about saving money isn’t really about teaching them to set aside a part of what they make – although that is important. First and foremost, though, it’s about teaching a savings mindset. That means teaching them:
Delayed gratification – The fact that it’s important to wait for what you want, and how to save up over time. Like when my oldest son wanted a Lego Death Star at five years old.
Wise shopping – Learning how to shop smart is a key for kids at any age. Comparison shopping, saving for a purchase, and overall making a good decision on what to spend your money on comes in handy. I’m a big fan of letting kids make small mistakes when they’re young, and helping teach them lessons from it, rather than constantly covering for them and having them make big mistakes as adults. Check out the lessons my kids learned from unwise wizard chess and hoverball purchases.
Advertising awareness – Advertisers target kids for a reason – they haven’t yet learned that advertisements aren’t real. Constant exposure to advertising creates a desire in kids for stuff they never would have known existed otherwise, and an increase in commercialism. Ads are pushed on television, on the internet, on YouTube, in magazines, and even in schools. Research has shows that ads have a substantial impact on childrens product preferences. As the parent, you need to teach them to be a critical consumer, questioning everything they’re told (or sold).
Setting aside a portion of everything – The earlier you introduce this concept, the more likely your kids will consider saving to be a natural part of what you do. I did this with my oldest by having him read The Richest Man in Babylon when he was 10 or 11. He still remembers it today.
Options To Teach Kids
So how exactly do you teach your kids these lessons? My favorite way, honestly, is using ordinary everyday events to impart valuable financial lessons. Check out my Frugal Family page for more stories about how I do this – I bet you’ll get a lot of ideas on how you can do the same thing with your own family.
For younger kids, I highly recommend watching Warren Buffett’s Secret Millionaires Club webisodes together and talking about them.
I’d also recommend reading this Arthur book about when Arthur wants to buy a new treat dispenser for his dog. It’s a great example for kids about not believing everything you see on TV. (note – the book link is an affiliate link. If you buy it I get a small commission at no cost to you – or you can always get it from the library).
If you haven’t already, be sure to swing by my comprehensive Kids and Money page. Don’t see an article or resource you’re looking for? Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend future articles or request resources.
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