It’s Money, Honey

Financial Learning Tools
It’s Money, Honey

If there was a bank owned and operated by doting moms, it would lend cash with zero interest terms and creative investment strategies: ‘We’re feeling bullish on dinners out this week.’

However, financial experts say we do our kids a great disservice by not teaching them about saving versus spending as early in life as possible.

So now, from inventive piggy banks to new allowance strategies and engaging online options, there are a variety of ways to teach our kids how to respect money and spend—or save—wisely.

This little piggy went to market…but did he (or she) budget wisely for the weeks worth of groceries? Even a swine can teach us all a thing or two about smart financial planning. Created by a Canadian mom entrepreneur, Four Piggies is an award-winning product that teaches kids about money and financial values.

Each set comes with four multi-coloured piggy banks that encourage kids to put a portion of money aside in each one labelled—Saving, Spending, Sharing and Schooling. An accompanying book tells the story of one little boy and how he learns basic financial concepts as he contributes to each of the four categories. Four Piggies offers a great opportunity for kids to learn practically about resisting instant gratification, giving back to others and saving for the future, in a way that even a 3 or 4 year old can begin to understand.

Earn It, Learn It by Alisa Weinstein
Alisa Weinstein’s new book Earn It, Learn It: Teach Your Child the Value of Money, Work, and Time Well Spent is a breath of fresh air in the ongoing debate over successful allowance strategies. Weinstein’s book has a truly novel approach to doling out the cash to our offspring. Kids or parents choose from a list of 50 careers from the book—toy designer, geologist, travel agent, disc jockey etc.—and each week earn an allowance by completing tasks (outlined in the book) related to their chosen career. There are three levels of tasks based on age appropriateness of 4 to 12 year olds. Instead of receiving a financial reward for contributing to household chores (they should probably be helping with anyway), kids get to be creative, learn about real-life careers and professions, earn money and have fun. It beats negotiating each week over an unmade bed.

Terms like debt, profit and investments may be over their heads, but add an interactive online game into the mix and suddenly kids will develop an interest in anything financial. Rich Kid Smart Kid offers games with varying levels of difficulty for the kindergarten to 12 age range. Different scenarios involving saving, spending or investing from outfitting astronauts to running an ice cream stand will keep kids engrossed while they make game-altering financial decisions.

So make a good investment this year. Talk to your kids and help them learn that less (spending) means more…in their piggy banks.

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First published 2011.02.08

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