School your children on money matters

Not sure how to talk to your kids about the importance of well-managed money? No problem. Try this guideline of topics to discuss as they grow.

Teaching your child 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

  • Identify coins and bills, and learn what each is worth.

  • Understand that you can’t buy everything (choices are necessary).

  • Save money in a piggy bank.

Grade school

  • Read price tags, and learn comparison-shopping.

  • Do money arithmetic (make change).

  • Manage an allowance, and use it to pay for some purchases.

  • Open a savings account and learn about interest.

  • Participate in family financial discussions about major purchases, vacation choices, etc.

High school

  • 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

  • Learn about borrowing money (interest, default, etc.).

  • Use credit cards 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.