5 Strategies to Enhance Economic and Financial Education at Home

  • Ask about what your child is learning at school and point out examples as you shop, watch television, or read together. Check out the grade-level AKS in the social studies curriculum. If trade is the topic, point out “made in” labels at the clothing store. Learning about the stock market? Research a favorite toy company or restaurant. Then, follow the company’s stock in the business pages. Talk about TV ads and their impact on your own buying habits to coincide with classroom lessons on the marketplace.

    Help your child learn to budget and save money from an allowance, gifts, or a job. Look at a plan for short- and long-term savings. Depending on your child’s age, he may be saving for a new skateboard, a car, or college. The key is regular deposits and learning to “pay yourself first.”

    With your older children, be blunt. Without a house payment and other adult responsibilities, high-schoolers with jobs may have more spending money than their parents. Talk about the true costs of running a household. When you tell your son, again, to close the door or turn out the lights, show him a utility bill so he knows why! Discuss the dangers of credit cards. Let him watch you shred all those tempting, but unneeded, credit card and loan offers.

    Include your child in family financial discussions. When discussing family finances with your child, help her see the process for deciding what you can and can’t afford, and trade-offs involved. Bust the myth that “money grows on trees” by showing that adults budget and save, too.

    It’s never too early to talk about… retirement. From the very first paycheck, teens need to be thinking ahead. The earlier workers start building a nest egg, the more secure their financial future. Your child will look to you as a model.