Teaching Kids About Money – Starting The Journey

“Mom, why is money important?” asked my son, T, one day in the bathroom (the bathroom being the third best place for hitting parents with big questions, with driving in the car and just-before-bedtime-kisses leading in the number one and two spots.)

The toothbrush, which I’d just loaded with toothpaste, wavered in the air while several thoughts skittered through my head.

Was I talking about money too much?

What kind of values are we giving him that he already thinks money is important?

How important should money actually be to an eight year old boy?

I can’t remember the exact answer that I gave him.  But that’s what this blog is about.  Tracking our journey as we teach our two boys, currently age 9 and 6,  to understand and manage money.  To know the true value of it.  And to know what’s more important than it.

As with so many aspects of parenting, I bring my own baggage to the party.  I’m frustrated that it took me so many years to get out of the “spend every paycheck” mentality.  While I lived within my means, I missed out hugely on an opportunity to save money and invest in my early career years.

I also seem to have an underlying belief that it’s somehow not “good” to be rich.  That camel getting stuck in the eye of the needle was definitely drilled into me at some point.

Most of all, no one ever really talked to me about personal finance when I was growing up.  My mother is really savvy when it comes to investing but it wasn’t something she shared with us kids.  I didn’t get an allowance until I was 16 and I’m pretty sure I learned how to spend with that rather than how to save.

Money is important.  It gives you choices.  After the economic debacle of the last few years, financial literacy is now more important than ever.  Kids learn about the concept of money in First Grade but only in terms of pure math.  How much is this coin worth?  How many coins can be exchanged for this piece of paper?  What school doesn’t teach them are lessons about things like saving, compound interest and the difference between want and need.  That’s our job.

Follow along as we try to grow rich kids.  Rich in the financial sense, rich in values and rich in life experiences.

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