Teachers, What If You Wrote A Money Letter To Your Students?

Jun 19, 2016
Teaching Strategies, Article, Generosity, Parent Conversations, Writing assignment


Ok, I admit this may seem a little far-fetched, but stick with me for a minuter here. Ron Lieber (NY Times) has a column this Saturday imploring parents to write a money letter to their kids to get a conversation going:

The Money Talk, capital “M” and capital “T,” is overrated. As with the Sex Talk, children can sense that one is coming. And if they get antsy, your words will go in one ear and out the other.

Tempted to hand over a notecard instead? Your first principles may fit on it, and making one for a new graduate is a fine thing to do. But there isn’t much space for storytelling.

So in this season of transitions, consider the old-fashioned letter. It’s long enough to tell some tales to bolster your advice, and if it’s written with enough soul, there’s a good chance the recipient will keep it for a long time. Plus, it’s a literal conversation piece, since the good letters will inspire more curiosity about how the writers oversee their own financial affairs.

What makes a good money letter (Here’s a template that a writer, Kimberly Palmer, shared with the Times):

A good letter, according to Ms. Palmer, should include at least one story about a large financial challenge and another one about a big money triumph. Then, include a list of crucial habits and the tangible things they have helped the family achieve.

We all know the power of story-telling, so regardless of whether you think this letter writing makes sense (maybe this will encourage to write to any children you might have), be sure to have a list of stories to share with your students as you make your way through each of your units. Our ability to share our mistakes and what we learned from them may just keep one of your students from making that same mistake.


Check out another writing exercise from the NGPF Blog: Write a Letter To A Sibling/Friend/Parent to Provide Financial Advice

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.