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  1. Teaching Financial Literacy to Kids: Introduction
  2. Teaching Financial Literacy to Kids: What Is Money?
  3. Teaching Financial Literacy to Kids: Earning Money
  4. Teaching Financial Literacy to Kids: Goods And Services
  5. Teaching Financial Literacy to Kids: Needs And Wants
  6. Teaching Financial Literacy to Kids: Spending Choices
  7. Teaching Financial Literacy to Kids: Saving for Short-Term Goals
  8. Teaching Financial Literacy to Kids: Saving Accounts
  9. Teaching Financial Literacy to Kids: Conclusion

Research from financial services company TIAA confirms that people who are less financially literate tend to accumulate less wealth, borrow more and pay more in financial product fees. They are also less likely to invest or know the terms of their mortgages or other loans. In contrast, people with a high degree of financial literacy, are more likely to make plans for retirement, and those who do plan for retirement have more than twice the wealth of people who don’t. (For more, see Why Financial Literacy is So Important.)

Unfortunately, financial literacy is not emphasized in the U.S. school system, so the responsibility usually falls to parents. This can be tricky, especially for parents who aren’t financial rock stars themselves – but don’t let that be an excuse to avoid teaching your kids about money. In reality, you’re likely to learn a lot about your own finances (the good and the bad) by sharing your financial knowledge and perspective with your kids. There’s a Latin proverb that emphasizes this point: Docendo discimus – meaning, “By teaching, we learn.” You and your kids can learn together.

Money is an exciting topic for kids, and many are eager to learn about earning, spending and saving money, even at a very young age. Most young children are ready to learn the basic concepts introduced here – what money is, goods and services, needs and wants, spending choices and savings goals. Keep in mind, however, that much of this learning is the result of repetition, experience and practice. Make time to teach these concepts, and take advantage of those teachable moments. The more you take advantage of teachable moments – those times when a conversation or activity lends itself to a specific topic – the easier it will be for your child to grow up to be a financially responsible adult. 

This tutorial introduces key financial concepts that are appropriate for young children, including tips for getting kids to think about and understand the money topics. For information directed toward older kids, check out Teaching Financial Literacy to Tweens and Teaching Financial Literacy to Teens.  


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