Kids & Cash: Lessons

BOSTON (CBS) – April is Financial Literacy Month. And we’ve talked about lots of personal financial issues this month. And every April I am reminded how important it is to talk about kids and money.

Teaching our kids money skills is more important than teaching them to say thank you and you should start when they are sitting in the shopping cart.

Studies have shown that parents feel it’s their responsibility to teach their kids about money and savings. But most grownups don’t know enough about money!

Look at the financial mess many are in. They take out mortgages they cannot afford. They invest in risky stuff thinking they will make lots of money. They are fooled by conmen! They over spend using credit cards.

Our kids need to learn about money. They need to know where money comes from, how it gets earned, saved and spent. For the most part, there is not enough money education in the schools. I once thought that the ideal time to start teaching money skills would be when the kiddo was in first or second grade.

My granddaughter made me re-think that theory. At 4 she understood that I could give the cashier at Target either my credit card or money and I could walk out of the store with a cart full of stuff. Some of which were going to be hers.

She didn’t understand credit, but she did know about the magic card I carried. When you have children, the money lessons need to start before they get on that kindergarten bus!

Every day our kids are exposed to a society that values million dollar athletes, pop stars and very expensive shoes. If you want them to have your money values you will need to teach by example.

It’s not the sit down and lecture kind of lessons that are successful here, it’s what you do every day and your attitude about money. Your kids are very aware of what’s going on in the family regarding money.

Do you save? Are you frugal? Is there a power struggle around money? Arguments? Are you secretive? Our kids are always watching what we do.

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You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.

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