Friday, June 29, 2007

Give Kids Credit (Not that kind of credit)

This morning, I was perusing an article about teaching kids about money and the author suggested that you should start giving an allowance when kids begin to understand the concepts of saving and spending. I agree. Then the author said this should happend around first grade. First grade? kids certainly have learned about the concept of spending money much earlier than that and saving money is something they can understand by the time they reach kindergarten (if not before). We need to give kids more credit (not that kind of credit) for their ability to grasp concepts earlier and, therefore, I think you should start them on an allowance earlier than first grade. Earlier is better, because the forces teaching kids to be irreponsible with money are certainly not waiting and an allowance is one of the best tools to start teaching your kids about the value of money. Let them make mistakes with the money young, seek out the teachable moments when they make them, and hopefully they will learn and we can raise a generation of kids much smarter than us when it comes to money.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Young Kids and Money - Rich or Poor

My family is always sending me articles relevant to our business and today's mail proved to be no exception. My Dad, a retired banker, sent me a piece from the June 2007 issue of the Parsippany monthly. Though the article addresses four topics for "Teaching Children the Financial Facts of Life" (article by Steven Brisgel), two items resonate for me. At the beginning of the article, Steven mentions that many young people may receive "sizable inheritances." Kids of wealth have difficulty with "value of money" issues just as poor or middle-class children do. It likely stems from the same problem, though, and that is the emphasis society or parents put on material things. Which brings me to the Steven's first (and arguably most important) topic, "Be a Role Model." This is one of the most difficult areas for any of us to address, particularly if we have developed any bad habits (which would be about 100% of us) over our lifetimes. We all know that kids do what you do, not what you say, and it is IMPERATIVE that we are mindful of this axiom. One thing that we try to do in our household is be mindful of our use of the terms "need" and "want." Put your attention on this during the day and you'll see what I mean. Adjust what you say accordingly - making sure that you are using the terms properly. And gently correct your children when they identify a want as a need. Nobody really needs a nightgown emblazoned with their favorite character. Do they?