This week, my eleven year old daughter opened up shop on her very own business. She is selling handmade candles door-to-door and to local businesses to earn extra spending money — mainly for trendy new clothes and to raise money for her summer youth camp, but she is also learning and developing important money management lessons in the process. My husband and I are encouraging her that after tithing her 10%, she should be paying herself at least 10-20% of everything that she makes. If she continues with this throughout her life, she should easily be a multi-millionaire at retirement age. {An aside – my husband and I meet people every day in our own business who just weren’t taught this simple principle and therefore have nothing saved – so we help them find ways to reduce debt and free up money so they can invest.}

I highly encourage you to buy this book if you have kids who are age 12 or older. It is jam-packed with informative and insightful information on how to teach your kids to avoid the debt and credit card traps so many parents are facing today.

Here are some terrific guidelines for teaching kids about money:

Preschool. Start with the big picture, by showing children that money can be exchanged for other things. Let them put coins in a vending machine or use their birthday money to buy something at the dollar store. They can play with fun savings banks, learn the difference between a penny, a nickel and a dime, or collect state quarters. Keep it simple, and don’t expect too much.

Ages 6-7. Set up an allowance. Kids are learning about money in school and becoming more sophisticated. They understand that four quarters equal $1, and they have some sense of how much $1 will (or won’t) buy. Making choices about how they spend their own money is a great hands-on learning tool. Think of it as stealth budgeting.

Ages 8-9. Open a bank savings account. Of course, you can start saving for your kids when they’re much younger, but they have to be a bit more mature to appreciate how a bank works. It takes them a while to understand (and accept) that if they deposit, say, a $10 bill, they’ll get their money back — but not the same $10 bill.

Ages 11-12. Expand the allowance to include additional responsibilities, such as paying for mall excursions with their friends and buying gifts. This is also a good time to introduce kids to the basics of investing — namely, owning shares of stock means being part owner of a company whose products they use or whose stores they shop in. In our business, many times, we open what is called an UGMA account for the child and the parent contributes the child’s money into that.

Ages 14-15. Encourage kids to get a job, at least over the summer. Teens this age are permitted to work in offices, amusement parks, movie theaters, restaurants, supermarkets and other retail stores. Arrange for them to have an ATM card, so they can deposit and withdraw their earnings from their own savings account.

Ages 16-17. Put teens in charge of a clothing allowance. If they don’t already have a part-time or summer job, now’s the time to get one. Now’s also the time to open a checking account and get a debit card, so they can learn how to manage their money before they head off to college (co-sign the account if the bank requires it because they’re not yet 18).

Age 21. Young adults are ready to apply for a credit card, after they’ve had experience managing their money at college or on their own.*
*Source: Kiplinger Magazine

For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, head on over to Shannon’s at Rocks in My Dryer.

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4 Comments on WFMW – Kids and Money

  1. Rhea
    April 23, 2008 at 8:59 am (15 years ago)

    Great ideas! I think one of the best things we can do as parents is to give our kids the tools to handle life, money and finances being a huge one. Good to get them started young at appreciating the value of money and good saving advice.

  2. Misty
    April 23, 2008 at 12:26 pm (15 years ago)

    great tips! That’s so cool of your daughter!

  3. John Lanza
    June 5, 2008 at 2:55 pm (15 years ago)

    Very good post. I would add that you can start the allowance even earlier – we started with our 4-year-old. Make sure to have your kids save for goals (e.g. shoes, scooter) that they can achieve within 1-2 months. By shooting for something tangible (rather than for a “rainy day”) helps them learn about delayed gratification while giving them a payoff is appropriate for their age. They can’t really get the abstract concept of saving for something that isn’t tangible until their a bit older (tweens). If you want to get younger kids excited about saving, I have a DVD, “The Money Mammals: Saving Money I Fun” that can help. Check out our site.

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