It’s one of the common questions parents have – when do you start the talk about money? What’s the right age – and how do you introduce the dialogue?
Browsing through the online Moms’ group the other night, I happened upon a box of Lego Duplo with a Cinderella carriage for 10 bucks. We don’t have the carriage, and Lego Duplo is expensive, so I jumped on the deal and agreed to stop by the seller’s house later to pick it up.
We were having one of those days – one of those days where we had gotten very little done, I wasn’t feeling very well and Jamie was still recovering from his wisdom teeth removal. Not really wanting to make two stops, one at the bank, another to get change for the $20 that would be distributed from the bank machine and then finally to the house to pick up the Lego, I explained to Violet that she would have to go find her money.
She had been carrying around a couple of five dollar bills for the last month, along with the change that she snagged from Grandma’s house, so I knew there was $10 to be found, in kid purses and pockets, but when I told Violet she had to find her money because I didn’t have any cash she responded with ‘Just use your debit card’.
She couldn’t find her money.
This was the opportunity. The opportunity to explain that we don’t just get to use debit cards with unlimited amounts of money – that we have to work hard, earn money, and those cheques that arrive in the mail and that Daddy puts in the bank are earned, from doing just that. Then, you are spending your own money that you put into the bank, using your debit card. She started to understand, especially when she was unable to find the couple of five dollar bills – I further explained that the debit card helps because you don’t lose your money.
“I should get a debit card like Olivia”, she said. I promised her that the next time we went to the bank, we would get her a debit card, so she wouldn’t lose her money.
Talk with Our Kids About Money Day
Talk with Our Kids about Money Day is on April 20th, 2016. It’s a partnership between BMO Financial Group and the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education that provides parents with the resources needed to build money conversations into their day-to-day interactions with their kids.
Programs are available for parents, and for teachers, as part of a home or school learning experience. As part of the home program, there are resources like videos and teaching lessons, links to free games that can be played online. The great part is the fact that there are activities for a wide variety of ages, from between 5 and 7 to 18+ (the transition years). And since the program is backed by BMO you can bet that the info is up-to-date and reliable. Whether you’re starting early, or you’re playing catch up, you can get the information you need to start the dialogue about money and financial literacy.
My favourite activity? The ‘If I had $100’ lesson. It’s an interesting way to gauge where your kids are at, as an introductory money lesson. We used a catalog from Olivia’s favourite toy store, where she chose toys – and was surprised at just how little $100 would purchase. I was surprised to hear that she thought to save a portion of the money, and realized that with her – the ‘saving’ message was actually sinking in.
Financial literacy is not something we should be talking about with our kids just once a year, it is an on-going conversation. BMO has launched YourFinancialLife.com to help parents with even more advice and resources to help prepare their kids for their financial futures.
Join the conversation using the hashtag #TWOKAM and make sure to follow BMO on Twitter (@BMO) and on Facebook (/BMOCommunity). This post has been brought to you by BMO but the opinions are my own.