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December 15, 2010 | Posted By: Jesse Mecham
In making sure children are provided with the basics—love, shelter, food—it's easy for parents to over look teaching a nitty-gritty lesson like finances. However, the more a parent can instruct their child about money, the better prepared (and hopefully wiser) that boy or girl will be once they step out into the world with credit card in hand.
The thought of getting your kids to sit through a lecture on money may be daunting, but that's just it—you're thinking of it as a lecture. In college, I had a very creative Econ professor explain the concept of supply and demand by offering one of us X amount of money and a box of donuts if that person would put on a pair of “Hammer Pants” and dance in front of the entire auditorium (about 500 students). Money doesn't have to be boring. In fact, money and the economy are fascinating subjects when approached the right way.
Presented here is an outline for a fun and informative evening with the family all about money, where it comes from, and what to do with it. This, however, is more of a bare-bones template. Based on the age and attention span of your kids, you can dive more in depth on various subjects or cut down on the parts they might not be able to grasp just yet (i.e. I don't know many 4-year-olds who care about sales tax, but you can go for it if you really want to).
The main thing is to make it relevant and relate-able to the kids. Show them just how connected our everyday decision-making and behavior is tied to money. Help them gain financial awareness and do it by using things they care about.
Money Back Then...
Where Does Money Go?
(This part will work best if you have some help through a visual aid like a white board, play money, or even just pencil and paper)
Budget, Budget, Who's Got the Budget?
Make sure you spend a few minutes discussing basic precautions concerning money, especially if the kids are earning their own money or are close to getting their own bank accounts or etc.
Applied $ Knowledge $
Good Times Had By All
End the evening with some friendly competition. Bust out Monopoly or the Life game board. Pass around candy bars like Paydays or 100 Grand for a treat.
Regular “Fun Finance Nights” throughout their childhood will certainly build financial awareness. Hopefully, it'll even show the kids that mom and dad really aren't made of money, nor does it grow on trees.
Jesse Mecham is founder of the financial software company, You Need a Budget—because you do! Based on four fail-safe rules, Jesse's revolutionary software teaches a methodology that helps people break the paycheck to paycheck cycle, get out of debt, and save more money faster. You haven't budgeted like this.
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