Our throwback today is to a column Ryder wrote two years ago with ideas to help teach kids about finance. A few FREE resources available from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can be found online HERE. The CFPB provides fun activities and conversations for use with children of all ages, including Bingo on the Go, a book club and more. Take advantage of these resources. It's never too early to learn healthy money habits. Remember: Prudent Investors Get Going Young!
Summer camps are great for getting the kids out of the house and learning something new while school is out. However, there will probably still be plenty of time when they are not at camp, and still need enrichment. Take advantage of the summer schedule to make financial exercises a group adventure!
A lesson on budgeting could be a full day project. Shopping or meal planning are good ways for your children to grasp the value of a dollar and the importance of planning. Get your children familiar with the grocery store so that they can come up with a menu themselves. Let them loose in the grocery store and see if they can stick to the plan! If you do this one well, you will be able to send them off to the grocery store with an older sibling and kick your feet up more often!
If your teens are employed outside of the house, they are learning how to patiently wait for their paycheck. If you employ any of the younger ones around the house, they too can learn to be paid on a regular schedule. Pick one day every other week to be payday and stick to it. While you wont be setting up a 401(k) plan for your household, you can still encourage your children to tithe and save regularly every payday.
Lastly, you can turn saving into a group activity. At the beginning of the summer, have your children decide on a savings goal like a day out, or a weekend trip. First they can estimate and budget expenses, then decide how to pay for it. Every time they earn some money, they can choose to save towards their end of summer goal. Make sure they discuss whether they are on track at regular intervals – after all, the fun part of saving isn’t viewing the statement, it is imagining what you can do with the savings!
While financial lessons may not be integrated into many summer camps, there is no reason that your children can’t enjoy DIY financial lessons throughout the summer!
--Ryder Taff, CFA, CIPM, Parents & Kids Magazine Central Mississippi, Mississippi Money column February 23, 2015