The other day, my teenage daughter related to me a quip she received by way of Twitter. It goes something like this… a child was pestering his mother about his urgent need for a new cell phone. The mother continued to answer “NO,” without an end to the requests. She finally asked in frustration, “Do you think I’m made of money?” The child replied, “Isn’t that what MOM stands for… Made Of Money?”
My first response to this story was to chuckle; it is a very clever play on words. However, after my own children continued to use the Made Of Money reference over the next several days, I realized that this is a clear indication of a real problem. Most school age children and younger adults are receiving little to no financial education at school or at home. They see the kids on TV and their friends at school ask and receive anything they ask for, without understanding what it takes to earn the dollars that are being spent.
As a parent, what can you do to begin to teach your children about the value of money?
- Help them learn the difference between wants and needs.
- Pay them an allowance, but make them earn it with specific weekly responsibilities.
- Put them in charge of something (financially) at home; put them in charge of something at home (like food for their pet). They are in charge of buying it when it runs out…using part of their allowance.
- Encourage saving (i.e. if they can save ½ of something they want, you can match it to make up the difference).
For list of Financial Education Resources for Parents and Children, visit the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. website at http://www.cfp.net/learn/resources_children.asp