financially savvy kids

We’ve been reaping the benefit of a financial children’s teaching program for four years. (This is the only gimmicky sales seminar I’ve ever purchased.) The program was hoping to teach me something about financially savvy kids (and also sell me their wares). And it has been worth every penny!

We want our children to learn how to run a household budget well into the future. We want them to make the best of their bucks. To save. To share. To entertain. To anticipate the future.

One day last week, our seventeen year old daughter was grocery shopping while I was writing in the café of the same store. We were out of town for the weekend, so she got to plan her meals, and we gave her cash to cover it. She informed me it would be a whole lot less expensive to buy blueberries, somewhere, anywhere else. She knows the value of a food dollar.

Of course, if you knew her, you know she spent nearly a year working for a large chain grocery store, so she might know the price of a few things. But I’ll tell you she’s been grocery shopping for a very long time. Part of our homeschool socialization is being part of the real world, regularly grocery shopping with her siblings and me. Besides being excellent grocery baggers, my kids can also tell you reasonable prices for a variety of things we purchase, and some can even do the entire shop by themselves. (The youngest has yet to do it ALL, but the eldest has even done the entire Christmas list).

We have worked to help find them jobs, and I don’t mean jobs that we fund. Outside home jobs that contribute to Canada’s tax plan and their (theoretical) retirement fund — (political statement encrypted). Laundry at my husband’s work has been a job all three girls have had over the past four years. Then there is a monthly catering gig. A part time position at the grocery store bakery. A couple mornings at a different bakery/catering company. A summer position once a week chopping vegetables and prepping cafe offerings. Teaching assistant roles in choirs and dance. And long before that, lemonade stands and garage sales, family theatre or musical performances, and anything they could sell, they would sell. Though, I admit, our nine year old is presently unemployed.

It’s not just the value of a grocery buck that they understand. The oldest two have clothing budgets. They have purchased their own electronics. They appreciate the time it takes to purchase their dance classes, choir, soccer, swim lessons, piano and violin lessons.

The financial training program suggests they earn their own money for extracurricular activities when they are sixteen, and a partly subsidized monthly allowance when they’re younger. Anything educational, or extracurricular is funded through the discovery envelope, that helps them discover the world.

Funding their own extracurriculars sounded good to us, obviously. I assumed that meant they would be more inclined to slow their lives down (the biggest benefit I saw). Turns out, I was wrong. They are highly motivated to take as many dance classes, choir classes, soccer, swim lessons, the list goes on and on… The younger two have been less interested in the older kids’ activity levels. (And I can’t blame them, cause I can’t imagine those schedules either. Actually I can, because I am uber mama).

The program also suggests a portion of their allowance be given to charitable donations. We set aside our charitable fundraising mail and read it with them, asking their thoughts on where we should donate as a family, and they have their own monthly donations to give. I’ve been surprised at the keen interest in the SPCA, but not so surprised at the World Wildlife Foundation interest, because that organization sends a stuffy and poster about said animal if we donate. We found a children’s hospice in a major city near us that is especially dear to my heart. Mercy Ships provides surgeries to ports in Africa for those who might never afford a surgery. Compassion International and Samaritan’s Purse both provide water sanitation systems that we especially appreciate as we have travelled into the developing world with a UV light, hoping that equatorial sun or a biosand filter would burn off the bad stuff, like the cholera outbreak in Accra. (Which it did.) Naturally, we want others to have the technology that enables clean drinking water and fewer diseases.

There is a savings aspect to this financial program. How could there not be? A short term temporary savings for those items that take more than a month payday to purchase, and a long term, big event savings plans.

Because relying on a bank to provide an enticing interest is hard to find, some of our kids play it safe with bonds, and some of them know a thing or two about stocks and gold and silver prices, and follow it on-line regularly. Too bad we didn’t encourage bitcoin earlier.

There’s even a fun account aspect to this savings program. Money was meant to be enjoyed too. If you see me at a café, with the kids, but not buying them a drink, that’s because they have their own account for that. The Fun account could also be a swim at the pool or candy for a road trip. Another fidget spinner. Giant bottles of glue. Or $20 squishies from China…oh my goodness, don’t even get me started on that. But they learn how valuable stuff is, and how valuable it is not.

All of these allowances are dependant on the child’s age. A gradient of sorts.

June 2013 103And at 18, there’s no payday! (In fact, they need to pay their parents rent.) Hopefully, the beginning of financial independence from parents that have enabled them to live reasonably responsible lives enjoying the money they earn.

I’m not selling the program, or receiving any remuneration for this post (but if they see this, they can message me;) If you’re interested in the program, it’s found here:

Another encouraging article that hits all the highlights to sound financially savvy kids is found here too:

What approach do you have in teaching your children about money? 


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