April is Financial Literacy Month, a great time to talk to your children about personal finance, which is a topic they probably don’t learn enough about in school. According to a recent survey, only 34% of parents have taught their teen how to balance a checkbook, and even fewer than that have explained how fees and credit card interest work. To help you get the conversation started with your children and make it fun at the same time, we want to share these ideas and resources.
What Your Children Should Know about Finances at Different Ages
Do you know which financial concepts that your children should understand at different ages? If not, check out this interactive report, Money as you Grow from treasury.gov.
Related Article: Help Set Your Children Up for Financial Success
Questions to Start the Conversation
A great way to find out how financially literate your children is to ask them some questions. Cathy Mafale, our banking center manager in Forestville, CT recently presented a lesson on money to local high school students. Here are some of the questions she asked to start the conversation:
- Where do you obtain sources of income from and why do you need it?
- How do you keep track of your money?
- What are some examples of short-term and long-term financial goals?
The way they answer these questions can help you figure out which areas they need to work on. Here are some resources we think you’ll find helpful:
Related Article: Kids and Cash: 7 Simple Money Concepts To Teach Kids
Online Money Games & Websites for Students
- The Financial Literacy and Education Commission developed MyMoney.govand the hotline (1-888-My Money) which can help further financial literacy for all ages. On their websiteyou can find games and websites for students and parents on a variety of topics.
- Junior Achievement, one of our partners in the community, has a student center on their website to learn different financial concepts like how to pay for college, or manage your money and more.
- If online gaming is one of your kid’s favorite activities, try working in one of these online games from FinanceInTheClassroom.org.Here they can learn about money, and have fun at the same time!
Related Article: Five Finance Tips for Teens
Simple Offline Activities to Teach Your Kids about Money at Home
Here are a few simple and free activities you can do with your kids to help them learn about money at home. You can tailor these to any age.
Create a Savings Jar
If your children keep asking you for that shiny new toy, turn that request into a new financial education project. One idea is to decorate a jar for specific savings goals. Or get the whole family to create a jar to save for a favorite charity.
Track Income & Expenses Have your children record how much money they earned or were gifted (income) and how much of their own money they spent (expenses) for a month. Help them with the math to see if they are in the "black" or "red", and then use that as a teachable moment to show them how to make and live within a budget.
Involve your Children in Your Finances & Decisions Once your child is old enough to understand the basics of what things cost, start involving them more in your decisions. Explain the pros and cons you consider before making a financial decision. Or, get them involved with more of your daily decisions, like how to make the best buy at the grocery store. Let us know any of your ideas on how to teach your children about money in the comments below, and happy Financial Literacy Month!
Related Article: How to Save, Save, Save Your Money in a Spend, Spend, Spend World