#266 Kids and Money: How to Have the Talk


Kids and money can be a thorny topic for parents. Luckily, personal finance expert, author and architect of the great MoneyAsYouGrow web site, Beth Kobliner joins us to celebrate Financial Literacy Month. According to research, money habits start to form by age 7, so we need to start talking to kids between the ages of 3 and 5.

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Start by identifying coins and their value and discuss the difference between something that is free, like playing with a friend, and an item that costs money, like an ice cream cone. You should also introduce the concept of work and the idea that you may have to wait for something you want.

You can start paying your child an allowance as early as age 6. Most experts agree that an allowance should not be based on household chores, rather it’s better to choose an amount based on what you already spend on small discretionary items your child likes but doesn’t need — like a toy. Make it clear that the amount you’re giving replaces what you would have been spending on her. You should encourage kids to save 10 percent of their allowance by opening a savings account and explain the concept of earning interest. To reinforce the savings habit, consider a "matching plan" for your child's savings: You put in 25 cents for every dollar she saves.

When it comes to teenagers and young adults, you should have the first of many conversations about debt. Explain why it’s important to avoid using credit card cards to buy things you can't afford to pay for with cash. As kids get to high school, you can start talking about the cost of college and about whether or how much the family plans to contribute towards education.

Thanks to everyone who participated this week, especially Mark, the Best Producer/Music Curator in the World. Mark is back in the US and makes another appearance on the show. Here's how to contact us:

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