FABULESSLY FRUGAL FRIDAY: Teaching Kids About Money
I was at the store with my 6-year-old daughter last week shopping for a birthday present for my nephew. She found a $75 toy that she thought he would love (he would!) and announced our shopping trip was over. She has discovered the perfect present and was ready to head to the register. I explained to her that $75 was not what we had budgeted for. Then the following conversation took place:
Her: Do you have enough money to buy it?
Me: Yes, we have enough money to buy it. But $75 is too much to spend on your cousin’s birthday present.
Her: If you have enough money then just buy the toy already.
Yikes. My head started spinning. Should I have been more proactive in teaching her about the importance of money? Did she, at the ripe young age of 6, already believe money grows on trees?
I hit the internet to see what Dave Ramsey, my financial hero, had to say about kids and money. And not surprisingly, he had a lot to say. What struck me was the simplicity of it. What he said in a nutshell was if we teach our children the importance of 4 major concepts, that will lay a foundation for financial success as adults. They are:
Dave says, “We’re raising a whole generation with ‘sucker’ stamped on their foreheads because we’re not teaching them.” Your job as a parent is not just to keep your child happy. You’re raising a future grown-up who needs to be able to deal with grown-up matters. If you teach little Timmy how to handle money responsibly, then grown-up Timmy will be better equipped for a richer life. Look at the statistics below:
- 19% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 declared bankruptcy in 2001. (USA Today, 2001)
- The fastest growing group of bankruptcy filers are those people who are 25 years of age or younger. (Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, 2002)
- Over 80%of undergraduates have at least one credit card and nearly 50% of college graduates carry four or more credit cards. According to the Department of Education, the average balance carried by these students is more than $3,000. (Senator Chris Dodd, CT)
These statistics show that many children aren’t being taught how to handle money. Young people are making mistakes with zeros at the end of them. These mistakes often take years to overcome. Teach your children how to handle money while they are young, and they won’t make mistakes later on in life.