Little Girl Holding US Dollars

Teaching kids about money now, may save them later!

Phew! The last couple of weeks have been filled with classroom visits and talking with students about their thoughts on money, savings, needs versus wants, budgeting and credit. The students ranged from 7 years old to 18 years old and I was so delighted with their eagerness to hear what I had to say and the fantastic questions they thought to ask me; they were very engaged in the lessons.

Some of the most common questions I received were:

  • “What is the difference between debit cards and credit cards?”
  • “My mom says we can’t buy things at the store because we have bills to pay.  What are bills?”
  • “What does interest mean and what is a good interest rate?”
  • “Why should I have a credit card?”
  • “What happens to my money when I put it in my credit union account?”
  • “How do I make a budget?”
  • “How much money should I pay for a car?”

What was very clear to me is that we, as adults, may only be sharing some of the critical information with our kids and not explaining “how” or “why” things work the way they do. Kids hear us say things like, “we’re over budget this month” or “I’ll just use my credit card to pay for it” or “I have to go to the credit union to get a loan,” but we may not be taking the time to explain the “why” or “how.” I am a firm believer that financial education can begin at a very young age. As soon as a child understands what money is, he/she is old enough to have a piggy bank and understand why saving money is a critical habit to develop.

Over the last two weeks, I have handed out over 140 New Dimensions FCU green Lego banks and have received many heartwarming thank you notes from kids telling me how much money they have saved in their Lego bank already! One budding artist even drew me a picture of her bureau, so I could see where she placed it. How sweet is that?

I hope that after reading this, you find the time in your next conversation with your child, grandchild, niece, nephew or favorite kid to talk about financial topics and remember to add the “how” and “why” …they will appreciate the effort one day. 😊

Merry Christmas to you and your family. I wish you a joyful holiday season.

Until next time,