How do you teach kids about money?
In the very first paragraph of a book by Jeff D. Opdyke, the author says that “From birth until college graduation, children consume dollars like they’re chicken nuggets.” An amusing line no doubt, but the substance of it is not unusual. Raising children is expensive and there’s plenty of advice out there about how to plan for it.
Less common are books about how to teach kids about money, as opposed to their parents. But we dug out five examples (and the best advice from each) that can help ensure your little bundles of joy grow up knowing the value of a dollar.
1. Piggy Banking: Preparing Your Financial Life for Kinds and Your Kids for a Financial Life
by Jeff D. Opdyke
Among the best nuggets of advice is the fact that “saving is perhaps the single most significant financial life skill parents can teach their children” and there’s an interesting chapter on teaching kids to give to charity. Think birthday parties with charitable contributions instead of gifts.
2. Money Savvy Kids: The Best Ways to Teach Your Children about Money for a Strong Financial Future
by Gordon Pape and Deborah Kerbel
This is a father-daughter collaboration. Pape is a personal finance expert and Kerbel supplies the writing chops as a young adult author. Their book begins with a general section about investing on behalf of your kids as well as their “seven money commandments.” There’s a lot of “thou shalt not” in this bit. Tips include not spoiling kids, not giving in to whining, not being unreasonable and practicing what you preach.
Chapters in the book are broken down by age ranges, starting with “Money Babies – Ages 5-6”, an age the authors say is the perfect time to introduce the concept of money. By chapter 6, (Young Adults – Ages 14-17), you’re into talk of “how credit cards work, the importance of saving, the concept of compounding interest, and how to earn a living.”
3. Piggy Banks to Paychecks: Helping kids understand the value of a dollar
by Angie Mohr
Angie Mohr structures her book differently. This one provides advice by topic area, rather than age range. Look out for a nice little section about business principles for kids the author calls “lessons from the lemonade stand.” Mohr says that money “does not have any magical properties that will make people happier, more positive, healthier, or wiser.” It’s how we look after our money and what we do with it that’s most important. Get that right and your kids will too.
4. The 5 Money Conversations to Have with Your Kids at Every Age and Stage
by Scott and Bethany Palmer
This book describes five money personalities to teach kids about money. The authors suggest that everybody has two that fit them, one of which is dominant. The book includes symbols for each personality and advice on each for the different stages of childhood. The structure makes for easy skimming to get the info that’s relevant for you. Best bit of advice in this book? Look at the “more foundational layer” of you and your kids’ decisions about money and your attitudes to it. Understanding “the how and why underneath those financial details” will help you reduce disagreements and conflicts about money, both as a couple and as parents.
5. Make Your Kid a Money Genius (even if you’re not)
by Beth Kobliner
Beth Kobliner provides 14 rules to teach kids about money. These include starting early, using anecdotes, being honest about why you can’t buy something and keeping money disagreements with your partner away from the kids. Special mention goes to her eye-catching advice to not “try to keep up with the Joneses (let alone the Kardashians), because you will teach your kids to do the same.”
If there’s an overall message common to all of the experts above, it is that it’s your job as a parent to teach your kids about money and set a good example. Nobody’s going to do it for you.