Raising Money Smart Kids: Ages 6-10When dealing with children ages 6-10, it's important to stick to the basics and make learning hands-on.
Grade school aged children are old enough to understand basic math and can apply math concepts to small purchases. They have a more mature understanding of money. They know what it can buy and can plan a little farther into the future.
Kids this age love to feel like a grown-up. Giving them an allowance and the ability to make decisions about how to spend it teaches them that money is finite. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
Stick to the Basics
When it comes to teaching kids about money, no matter what their age, it's important to stick to the basics: saving, spending, earning, and philanthropy.
Have your child set a goal for something in the near future (a couple of weeks). If it’s a larger item, and you can afford it, offer to pay for part of it when/if your child saves their portion.
Talk about saving as a habit. A habit is something we do repeatedly. If they receive an allowance, encourage them to save a portion of it. For example, if they receive $5 a week, have them save $1 every time. Have them put this money in their piggy as soon as they get the money.
When they turn 7 or 8, consider having them open their very own savings account. Take them to the financial institution and walk them through the process of opening their account. Make sure you talk with them about how an account works (when they give money to the teller, the teller takes it and puts it into the child’s account. You may not have the money physically in your possession, but, when you need it again, you can ask the teller for it).
Budgeting is all about choices. Your spending should go to needs first and wants second. When you decide what to spend your money on, consider the many options within needs and wants. We need to have a place to live, but we don’t need a mansion. We need to eat, but it doesn't have to be at McDonald’s. It’s important to weigh your options and consider what you will have to give up to afford your wants and needs.
Kids learn this lesson very quickly when they are dealing with their own money. Just be sure to stick to your plan. Do not give them more money when they run out.
With children this age, it’s time to think about allowances. Weigh the pros and cons of an allowance and take a look at the MoneyEdu section on allowance.
Also, talk about other ways to earn money, i.e. jobs, extra chores, and more.
When a child receives money, have them focus on saving, spending, and sharing (use this as a way to divide money up). If you’re ready to do so, you can also include a category for investing.
President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability
The President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability was developed to explore personal financial literacy and capability. One result is the Money as You Grow campaign. This campaign focuses on 20 tips for financial education for kids.
Below are the four recommendations for this age group. Visit moneyasyougrow.org for more information and activities to try.
- You need to make choices about how to spend your money.
- It’s good to shop around and compare prices before you buy.
- It can be costly and dangerous to share information online.
- Putting your money in a savings account will protect it and pay you interest.
Activities to Try
Open a savings account. Not every financial institution is kid-friendly, so be sure to ask some questions before opening an account:
- Does your financial institution prepare financial information targeted to a youth audience?
- Are there lower minimum deposits and balances for children?
- Are fees waived for children?
- How often is interest paid to the account?
Role-play and pretend play. Kids learn best by playing. Make learning as hands on as possible. Have them count money with you, play pretend shopping, pretend restaurant, etc. Get some play money for them to use.
Set short-term goals. If your child asks for something in a store, take advantage of that moment to have them set a goal for it. Work with them to determine the cost. Use a "thermometer" or a goal chart and display it where they will see it every day. You can even put a picture of that goal by the chart.
Celebrate goals. When they reach their goal, celebrate and go buy the item with them. Use that moment to have the child "pay" the cashier with their hard saved money.
Take them grocery shopping with you. Before you leave, ask them to help you write a grocery list. When you get to the store, ask them to grab an item off the shelf, put it in the cart, and cross it off the list. Talk with them about prices and how much things cost.
If they ask for something, have them check the list. Explain that if it isn't on the list, we probably don’t need it or can’t buy it this trip. Talk with them about saving money to buy it next time.
Watch TV together. Ask questions about the advertisements that come on TV and talk about what an ad is and what it is trying to do.