I heard an ad on the radio last week that REALLY bugged me. It was for one of the many payday loan places that are popping up on every street corner it seems. The ad basically stated “Rent is due Tuesday, don’t get paid until Friday… come see us”. It made me pause, what in the world are we doing to ourselves when we are living so close to the line that you need to borrow money for rent. I know that I never want my kids to be in that situation. Paying so much interest that you are never going to be able to dig yourself out of debit is no way to live.
It is not enough to think children will learn everything they need to know about money at school. While school teaches them the fact of money – simple arithmetic, or even how to calculate an interest payment, these short-one off lessons are not enough to set our children up for success as adults. As parents we need to take on part of the responsibility to show your kids how to handle money and what the consequences are if you don’t. And I know as parents we get asked daily “Mommy can I have this?” “Daddy lets buy that.”
Even at a young age kids understand basic concepts, and I don’t shy away from explaining to my 5 yr old how much things cost and why we can, or can’t afford something. Last week when buying Halloween costumes he spotted an accessory to go with the costume that he had. The accessory cost half as much as the full costume! While he really wanted the white gloves to go with his Power Ranger costume I explained to him that it was not in the budget to spend $15 on a pair of gloves for a costume, and that when we go shopping each thing we purchase costs money.
Then when we got home we broke out our M is for Money books to talk a little more about how money works. The M is for Money is a series of books that introduce financial literacy concepts for kids in an easy to understand manner. As a parent I appreciate that each book tackles one topic and that they flow together or can be read individually. As a Canadian I love that these books are made in Canada and talk about our currency including loonies and toonies! We have the first 3 books in the series The Little Piggy Bank, The Little Lemonade Stand, and The Little Trip to the bank. They are written in a way that makes it easy to introduce the concepts of what is money, how you earn money, and how you can save money with your kids.
The series has a total of 6 books with the others covering concepts of making change and having a wallet, what it means to need a loan, and making choices on how to spend your money. With the bombardment of messages about “easy money” and advertisements encouraging us to spend spend spend it is more important then ever to set a strong foundation early with your kids to teach them how to handle money in a good way. And I am by no means a money or investment expert, hey I could probably even use a few books to teach me about advanced concepts. But what I do know is that I want to set my kids up for success, so that as teens and adults they will be able to make smart choices about how to spend the money they earn and how to save for their future. And that is not something they learn at school, that needs to start at home.
M is for Money free downloadable activities, and teaching guide if you want to take your learning even further. Teaching your kids about money does not need to be boring, and it is one of the most important life lessons you will pass on to them. Don’t leave it up to schools and the media to teach them financial literacy. Start the discussion at home today and if you need a little help along the way check out the M is for Money book series to help guide you through.
How do you teach your kids about money at home?
Disclosure: This post was brought you by M is for Money. All opinions are strictly my own.