Home > Uncategorized > How I’m Teaching My 9-Year-Old Money Lessons (& She Doesn’t Even Know It)

Comments 0 Comments

You might be too occupied with preparing your taxes to notice, but April is Financial Literacy Month. You might be financially literate, but are your kids? If you’re not doing so already, this is as good a time as any to start teaching them about money. After all, it’s your job to send financially responsible young adults out into the world, plus there’s a bonus —the more they understand about money, the less they’ll whine about wanting this toy and that pricey pair of sneakers.

Here’s the plan I’ve put into place with my daughter, Sadie, who is almost 10. I hope that it helps provide a framework for you to teach your own kids. And please comment below — I’d love to hear your successes, failures and suggestions.

Age 2-4: Coin Counting

Sadie could differentiate between different coins — and eventually bills — at this age. She also loved to count them (quantity, not value) and drop them into her piggy bank, which was a great excuse to reinforce her counting skills. Playing with money was just as fun as playing with toys, so why not?

Age 4-6: Savings Account, Shopping

We set up a savings account in Sadie’s name and brought her to the bank so she could participate in depositing her monetary gifts into her account. She loves to watch her balance grow!

There were (many) times when we wanted to leave her at home when we had shopping to do, but we found that shopping presented a learning opportunity, where she could watch us compare prices, use coupons and check out.

We often brought along money from her piggy bank so she could spend it on something she wanted. It was a real “aha” moment when she realized that money has value rather than thinking it comes from the clouds. These occasions allowed us to have an impactful wants-vs.-needs conversation.

Age 6-10: Chores, Allowance, More Shopping

For many kids, this is a good age for assigning chores and giving allowance. Sadie didn’t respond well to this approach so we’ve discarded the payment-for-services-rendered arrangement, and instead assigned some things she is responsible for, like cleaning up after her guinea pig and straightening up her room, and asking for her help with other tasks, like vacuuming and dusting. There is no allowance. She receives plenty of spending money from relatives for her birthday, Easter, etc., and she can spend that money as she sees fit. We buy her things occasionally, but more often than not, she spends her own money, and therefore, makes very thoughtful financial decisions.

Age 10-14: Checking Account, Debit Card, Saving vs. Spending

This is right around the corner for us, so I’ll tell you what we plan to do (which, given our child, could change). I assume Sadie will start earning her own money from babysitting or odd jobs soon enough, so when that time comes we’ll set up a checking account with a debit card so she can learn to balance a checkbook and get comfortable with the debit experience. She’s been begging for a phone and when we do finally break down and get one for her, we plan to have her contribute to the bill and pay by check or debit card.

Age 14 & Up: Independent Shopping, Credit Card

She will have more of her own money by now (I hope) and she’ll be without us more (eek!) so she’ll be spending more independently. We also plan to open a credit card account for her at this age so she can see how credit works.

For bigger ticket items that she wants, like a tablet or, eventually, a used car (double eek!), she can save for a portion and then charge a portion and pay it off.

This will also be the time we’ll talk about the importance of building good credit and why it’s important to track her credit score (you can get your free credit scores, updated for free every 14 days on Credit.com), plus checking her annual credit reports.

Also, around 16 or 17, we’ll talk about college—how much it will cost, how much is in her 529 college savings plan, how student loans work, etc.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: Fuse

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team