What I found fascinating was that a simple summer childhood activity – holding a lemonade stand – is CHOCK full of goodness and learning experiences. She is learning how to talk to people. She is learning how to sell something she believes in. And, she is learning how to count and handle money – with quick math skills – and she is learning about the value of money. Sometimes it seems to kids that money is readily available – ripe for their plucking. My son thinks we get it from a machine!
That’s why I love these experiences to help change the way they view and handle money, and how this might shape them into money-savvy adults. With the changing world, it’s always important to get a handle/understanding of money while young. And that’s part of the reason I took Scarlet to the U. Fund Dreams Tour Tent at the grand opening of the Dr. Seuss Museum several weeks ago. We wanted to see Dr. Seuss, of course, but I really wanted to see the U. Fund Dreams Tour Tent and talk more about financial decisions for my family’s future. It’s about feeling safe and secure, and imagining the future.
1 – Start those conversations early, with games. Even from a young age, kids can understand certain concepts – like counting, more vs. less, etc. They start to understand the value of every kind of coin at an early age, and can play learning games.
2 – Be age-appropriate with your lessons. Although they can understand a lot, you can start with more simple tasks – like sorting coins. Older kids will understand how choices affect family finances and can learn more appropriate lessons.
3 – Give your children an allowance, but encourage them to earn money through work. Allowances build awareness, and you can put a dollar amount on age-appropriateness. Have them take care of household and yard chores, for small allowances.
4 – Involve your children in family decisions/purchases. We needed a new fridge and a new TV within the last year, and we included them in the process. They understood how much decision-making goes into such a giant purchase for the home.
5 – Let them make their own spending decisions with their money. Chances are, they will make mistakes. That’s ok because adults do too! It’s better to understand the value of money at a younger age. They will learn about budgeting too.
6 – Teach them to GIVE. As I write this, my kids are going through their bedrooms with trash bags – finding toys they haven’t played with in months/years. Charity/donating is a huge part of our family value system, and will charge their futures.
7 – Don’t be shy about family finances. Kids are known for asking questions – be prepared with answers that make sense to you, and align with your values. I don’t talk about EVERYTHING, but sometimes my daughter will accompany me to work and I’ll explain how much I put in for a certain job, and what the profit is after the job. We talk about mortgage and monthly bills, needs vs. wants, charity, budgets, and even the tooth fairy. Transparency – to a degree – helps with understanding.
8 – Be a role model. YOU set the best example for you kids, and what they know and understand about money. Make sure your decisions/actions model a healthy example. It was important to me to take Scarlet to the U. Fund Dreams Tour Tent.
My kids are getting older and savvier, and sometimes it takes me a bit longer to catch up. Ultimately, I’m so impressed with what I have found out so far, and what our options are as we move forward as a family. The U. Fund Dreams Tour empowers us to make decisions about our family’s future, with resources available to help us better navigate this process.
These events will be taking place between May and October of 2017 and they look GOOD. My family attended a few U. Fund Dreams Tour events in 2016 and had a blast. The events will all have a large “U. Fund Dreams Tour Tent” filled with engaging discovery activities for kids to have fun with and connect. There are discovery activities intended to help parents better understand the challenges of saving for college, and they are also there to be fun and interactive for the kids. The U. Fund Dreams Tour is a fun and interactive chance to connect. It aims to bring awareness to the importance of saving for college, to offer viable solutions, and to help you on this journey of helping your children be more money-savvy.
MEFA’s U.Fund College Investing Plan, the Massachusetts 529 college-investing plan, is a tax-advantaged college savings plan managed by Fidelity. MEFA is a non-profit state authority that works to make higher education more accessible & affordable.