2023 is the perfect year to teach your kids about money. Here’s a month-by-month guide

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A mother plays with her daughter at a kitchen counter while the other mother dances in the background with their baby.

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Some of the most important lessons in life come from our parents.


Most important points

  • Bite-sized lessons are perfect for teaching kids about money.
  • It is important to model good money management skills.
  • Teaching your kids about money should be fun for all of you.

If you want your children to grow up knowing money, much of what they learn will be up to you. Whether you have an easygoing, compliant child or a strong-willed child, the best way to teach them is usually in bite-sized chunks. A small lesson, reinforced in a fun and positive way, can stay with your child for a lifetime.

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve developed this easy-to-follow 12-month guide.

January: Money really doesn’t grow on trees

If you’ve ever rolled your eyes after a parent or grandparent reminded you that money doesn’t grow on trees, you’re not alone. Most of us have heard that bit of wisdom once or twice.

One way to teach your kids that money doesn’t grow on trees is to talk about how your family gets money to pay bills and do the fun things you do.

You can reinforce this idea by offering your child a small allowance in exchange for certain chores. If they don’t do the chores, they don’t earn pocket money. What those chores are and how much the allowance is should be based on the child’s age and abilities.

February: A budget like GPS

If you feel comfortable, show your child the monthly budget you use to keep your household running smoothly. You don’t have to go into details, but explain that a budget is like a GPS that reminds you where you want to go.

Help your child draw up a budget for themselves. Let’s say the most your child can earn in a given month for doing their chores is $10. Ask them to break that $10 down into how they want to spend it. Assure them that their budget may change over time as they make more money or their priorities change.

March: The difference between wants and needs

This is a tough one, even for adults. One way to introduce the idea of ​​wants versus needs is to make a list. If you have a 7-year-old, the list might look something like this:

  • School clothes
  • New fidget toy
  • Video game
  • lunch money
  • Shoes
  • Football

Add as many things as you can think of, making sure to list the types of toys and activities your child enjoys. Make a game of it by asking your child to go through the list and tell you which are needs and which are wants.

April: How money grows

Once your child has earned an allowance, tell him that you will hold on to his money for as long as he would like. However, for every month they leave it with you, you pay them 2% interest. If they give you $10 to hold, they’ll earn $0.20 for the first month. And since they have $10.20 now, they’ll make $0.21 the next month (we’re rounding up here).

The point is to help them understand that, like you, some bank accounts pay rent. The longer the child leaves the money on deposit, the more interest it will earn. Further, the interest they earn will itself earn interest.

May: how credit works

The flip side of teaching a child how money grows is helping them understand how credit works. Let them know that if they want to spend money they haven’t earned, they can ask you for a loan. However, it will come at a price.

Explain that they have to pay back the money plus interest. You want to set a strict limit on how much they can borrow so they don’t get in over their heads.

June: The world is an expensive place

Every time you’re in a store or browsing a catalog with your child this month, challenge them to guess how much an item costs. If they are within $1 of the correct price, they get one point. If they are less than $2, they get two points, and so on.

The goal is to see who has the lowest score at the end of the game.

July: waiting pays off

Ask your child if there is something they would like to buy but don’t have the money for. If they reasonably come up with something, let them save their money in mom or dad’s bank. Since you introduced the concept of compound interest in April, you set an interest rate that you pay each month that the money remains on deposit.

The challenge for the child is to wait until they have earned enough to buy the item they want. Whether they make it or not, it’s a great way to teach delayed gratification.

August: Money can be lost

Introduce your child to the stock market by playing an online game such as The stock market game. It gives your child a fixed amount of fake money to invest. With your help, your child can choose stocks they think are “sure,” and find out what happens when a stock loses value.

September: Money gives you options

It is easy to believe that money makes us happy. What money actually does is give us options. Whenever your child wants to do something with his pocket money, whether it be spending, saving, or giving away, remind him that the money he’s earned gives him the power to make those important decisions.

October: Start a business

If your child is interested in making money, allow him to use his allowance to open a lemonade stand, buy chocolate and resell it for a fee, or any other venture that is safe and educational.

November: It’s okay to ask for help

If you have a… Financial planner, tell your child about that person and what he has to offer. Then encourage them to come to you with all their questions about money. It’s okay to look up answers if you don’t know the answer right away.

December: Giving is good for the soul

Studies show that some of the happiest people on the planet are those who are generous. This month, encourage your child to think of others and the role they can play in making someone else’s holiday season a little brighter.

The most important thing to remember is that it’s the little lessons you learn throughout the year that will stick with your child the most.

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