Nov 14, 2018

10 Money Milestones For Parents Who Want to Teach Their Kids About Money

I often hear this question from friends and family, "How can I teach my kids about money?" While we developed our website and resources with a classroom teacher in mind, they work well at home too. I think milestones present great opportunities for this learning to take place between parent/guardian and child. 

Here are ten money milestones in the life of a teenager with a link to a favorite NGPF resource (or two) that can help kids "learn by doing." 

  • Opening a bank account
  • Getting that first job
    • Prepare them for the shock of discovering that a $10/hour job doesn't mean they take home $10 for every hour worked with this Fine Print: Pay Stub.
    • We know the importance of technical skills but don't forget about those soft skills. They matter too so we created a lesson to develop them. 
  • Before you hand over the keys to that family car
    • Deductibles, premiums, collision, oh my! Better complete this Fine Print: Auto Insurance Policy before they leave the driveway. 
    • Maybe they will appreciate you more when you ask them how much they think your premium is going up when you add them to the policy. Here's the answer! 
  • Importance of budgeting
    • You may have heard this troubling statistic that over half of America is living "paycheck to paycheck." What does it feel like to live like that? Play award-winning game SPENT and find out. 
  • Thinking about college?
    • Over 500,000 students have learned to navigate those tricky money decisions to get to and through college by playing our award-winning game, PAYBACK
    • Want to know the value of education in dollars and cents? Check out this simple Data Crunch to get an answer to this question. 
  • Using a credit card
    • Before handing that card over to them (since they will need you as a co-signer or have their own income to get one), be sure they complete this Fine Print: Credit Card Agreement. Don't let them be surprised by the "gotchas" that come along with the card. 
  • Establishing credit
    • Having a good credit score has become even more important as it has moved beyond the realm of just creditors and is now evaluated by employers, insurers and landlords. Teachers love these two activities at explaining this new concept to teens: Interactive: FiCO Credit Scores and Impact of Credit Scores on Loans
  • Investing in the stock market
    • Making millions day-trading may be a goal of theirs, but good investing is actually like watching paint dry. Before they play our new investing game, STAX, they will think it's all about beating the market. After playing the game, they will understand the value of getting the market return through low-cost, diversified index funds. 
    • And if index funds sounds like some fancy-schmancy finance jargon, this picture will be worth a thousand words, or 500 companies. 
  • Donating to a charity
    • Supporting causes that we believe in through volunteer hours or donations make us feel good (and improve society too!). This activity, Compare: Charities,will get your kids excited as they learn more about organizations they would like to support. 
  • Understanding debt
    • How can you understand something that you have never experienced before? Our friends at McKinney came up with a great way to replicate that feeling that comes with being buried in debt. We call it Cat Insanity.


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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