This Season, Give Your Child the Gift of Fiscal Responsibility
Kids may think they know what they want to get for the holidays this year, but that doesn’t mean they have a clue as to what they need. By having a little forethought, and using this gift-giving opportunity as a chance to really invest in them, you can help change their financial futures. Here is a rundown of some of the best money-management gifts that I have personally used for kids under 12:
One of the most comprehensive financial education packages on the market, the Money Savvy Kids @ Home program by Money Savvy Generation, is designed to be used as a complete curriculum on money. Home educators will find that it is very similar to a unit study, complete with parent handbook, student workbook, CD-Rom, and cool piggy bank. I’ve tried this program, and found it to be one of the most interesting. Covering the basic money principles (save, spend, donate, invest) reminded me of my financial goals, and it was interesting to learn some quirky facts about the history of money in the process. This is a well thought-out program with much to offer kids ages 6-11.
Grown-ups wanting to incorporate faith into their finances will find that the late Larry Burkett’s Learning ATM is a great way to teach philanthropic giving at an early age. This piggy-bank-meets-calculator allows kids to punch in their amounts as they make deposits to watch their giving/saving/spending amounts add up! Plastic ATM cards act like keys to keep the bank safe from snooping siblings (or parents needing a spare quarter for tolls…)
Tessy and Tab is a fun reading programs for kids ages 2-6. They have now introduced money management to the preschool scene with their Money Manager Toolkit. Two story books teach earning money and how to Save, Spend, and Share via colorful pictures and bold text. Kid’s can make deposits into their “Moonjar Moneybox” while parents can read about cores, allowance, and incorporating money management into their little one’s lives.
Need to read more before starting a money education program at home? Kiplinger has come out with a very smart guide that covers many of the basics in teaching your kids finance, titled Raising Money-Smart Kids: What They Need to Know About Money and How to Tell Them. This is a great read with everything from lemonade stands to college funds, and all the in-betweens.
Before you stuff another crisp bill into that kid’s Christmas card this year, think ahead to what it will be worth. An educated child will put that money to good use and will be prepared to make solid financial decisions later on in life. Your gift choice may not make them the envy of all their friends now, but someday they really could be!