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Do you have any suggestions for teaching my children (ages 7-13) good money habits?


Kids learn about money very early. When my niece was barely a year old and attending a performance of “The Merchant of Venice” (she was quite a cultured toddler), a line of dialogue ended with the word money, heavily emphasized. My niece started shouting “money, money!” and her mother had to drag her out of the theater.
You can easily teach your children two financial lessons – about saving and setting priorities – once you have begun to give them an allowance. By setting the amount modestly below what they need to cover such childhood necessities as comic books, video games and after-school snacks, you will force them to decide what they really need and what they just want. To encourage saving, you can make a deal with them to match any portion of their allowance that they put in the bank, be it real or piggy.
Another way to encourage thriftiness and foster an understanding of life in the real world among older children is to set limits on cell phone minutes and texts. You can also acquaint kids with the value of money by paying them to do chores, but you run the risk of teaching them instead to be cynical by putting a price on activities that you would rather have them see as duties to their family.
-Conrad de Aenlle