Raising Financially Savvy Kids: Ages 0-5

Finance 315

Dollars and Sense

Ideally, financial training should begin in the early toddler years before kids are old enough to carry a kid-size wallet or handle money of their own. Parents can model the importance of budgeting, letting young children help plan shopping lists, shopping around for the best deal and distinguishing needs from wants. (“Your body needs healthy food like carrots, and that’s what we’re buying today. That sheet of stickers is something you want, and that can wait.”) Resist the urge to scoop up strategically positioned toys and candy at the register (even if kids beg for them). Saying no to impulse buys shows kids the importance of planned spending.

Kindergarteners are often ready to begin receiving a small allowance, says Charlotte-based Karen R. Keatley, an independent financial planner. Some families give one dollar per year of age; others choose a larger amount and split the funds between spending money and a bank account in the child’s name. Keatley chose the latter option for her two children.

“They never touched the money in the bank,” she says. “But they always knew it was there.”

> Financially Savvy Kids: Ages 6-11
> Financially Savvy Kids: Ages 12-18