Given how important financial skills are to navigating life, it’s surprising that our schools don’t teach children about money.
As a parent, however, you can teach your child important financial lessons — and you should.
“Look at the mortgage crisis and how many families lost their homes — 3.9 million foreclosures. Look at the amount of money — $1.1 trillion — we owe in student loan debt. The amount — $845 billion — we owe in credit card debt. It’s pretty clear that adults don’t know much about money. To help the next generation avoid the mistakes of their elders, and to live financially fit lives, they need to be taught the essentials about money,” says Beth Kobliner, author of the New York Times bestseller Get a Financial Life, and a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability who spearheaded the creation of Money as You Grow, which offers age-appropriate money lessons for children.
Kobliner says children as young as three years old can grasp financial concepts like saving and spending. And a report by researchers at the University of Cambridge commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Money Advice Service revealed that kids’ money habits are formed by age 7.
“The sooner parents start taking advantage of everyday teachable money moments (for example, give a six-year-old $2 and let her choose which fruit to buy), the better off our kids will be. Parents are the number one influence on their children’s financial behaviours, so it’s up to us to raise a generation of mindful consumers, investors, savers, and givers,” she says.
Check out our gallery of the top money lessons to be learned at each age, as well as activities to illustrate each point.
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