Nurture Your Budding Little Capitalist

Sometimes the best way to learn something is to teach your child about it.  Just when you think you have a handle on a topic, you talk to your child and he or she comes up with questions you don’t know the answer to.

Teaching by example can cause you to lift your game somewhat in order to be a good guiding light to your children.  If you haven’t saved any money in a while, bringing the topic up in the family is a reminder to get back on track.  Here are other ways to teach your child about money and finances:

1. Lead by example
Teach your children by showing them.  Save regularly, don’t spend frivolously, budget, negotiate on prices and go without sometimes.

2. Encourage saving
It starts with a simple piggy bank, and then when your children are old enough to understand bank accounts, take them to the bank and include them in the establishment of one.  Every week, go over what they’ve saved and teach them about interest and fees.

3. Talk about money
It doesn’t have to be a topic that consumes dinner table conversation but if you introduce discussions on a regular basis, it will become something the children are familiar with and enjoy talking about.  Discuss interest rates, currencies, gold prices, the home loan, the cost of groceries, how to budget, who’s saving the most efficiently and so on.

4. Earning is learning
Children should always help out around the house without expecting to be paid for it, but some pocket money can be a great way to teach them about the value of a dollar.  You can even take it a step further and have them put a percentage in one money box for ‘tax’, a percentage away for savings and the remainder for spending.

5. Permit spending
Children need to see the results of their savings.  It’s no fun to get them to save up all their pennies and dollars, only to have it locked away ‘for college’ or for their future.  Let them spend a small portion of it when they want something special.  They can then see that their savings will reward them with tangible things.

6. Play money games
Monopoly is a fantastic way to educate children about money.  It not only teaches them how to handle money in mathematical terms, but helps them to learn how to strategize with money.

We live in a capitalist democracy so the home environment should echo that.  Aim to teach your children values, both moral and monetary and give them a strong foundation on which to build their financial future.