Friday night watching our government leaders finally come to a decision on a budget was a dose of reality. Government shutdowns would have hurt us as our one and only paycheck comes from government employment (we think of ourselves as self-employed). It also got me thinking about budgets. Hopefully we are training our kids to handle their money better than ol' Uncle Sam.
Some people are really good at handling money. The husband and I made our mistakes early and learned along the way. We are hoping to teach wise money management to the kids before they leave home so we don't have to worry about them (or explain to them why we won't bail them out) once they leave home.
Here are a few sources of money management instruction that may be helpful:
Larry Burkett's Money Matters for Kids is a great introduction on money management for elementary aged kids. Have a teen? Then try Money Matters for Teens and the companion workbook. Are your kids ready for college? Perhaps Money Management for College Students would be a good fit. Young couples may also benefit from the Complete Financial Guide for Young Couples: A Lifetime Approach to Spending, Saving, and Investing. Yes, I am a Larry Burkett fan. Expect that these books apply spiritual principals to how we handle our money as Larry Burkett was a Christian financial counselor.
Dave Ramsey is also popular these days. He does have a curriculum for teaching kids about how to handle finances on his website. The materials available are for kids anywhere from Kindergarten to High School age. Expect these curriculum to focus on teaching Dave Ramsey's basic teachings which include to pay for things with cash, save, and avoid debt. Can't argue with that.
Sometimes the best teacher is real experience. At our house we use an allowance system to try to teach management skills. First Kid Bank is an interesting concept - managing your child's allowance through a virtual bank. That's right, its all virtual and handled electronically much like today's banking is done. It appears its done through a mobile device or your computer. Interesting concept. Another site that offers a similar services is Zefty.com. I believe both are free to use. Family Mint is similar but offers more in the way of features. There you can sign up for either a free account or get updated features for a yearly fee.
Of course, in today's climate, teaching smart money management is quite popular. Chances are you can get free materials from your local bank. Just ask and see what happens. Also, don't forget to look at online math sites for some financial teaching resources: Math U See has a loan calculator on their site. Finance Freak has some basic lessons on banking, money, investing, etc. The calculator page, again, has some great calculators if you need to hit the topic home by showing little Jenny how much that shirt actually cost her if she only makes minimum payments.
Just want to learn about money? Well, U.S. Mint H.I.P. Pocket Change is a neat site for younger kids to visit complete with games, toons, history, and information on coins, etc. If your kids like to collect the decorative state coins, this is a great place for them to visit. Also, the main site for the U.S. Mint has an Educator's page which has lesson plans for all grades as well as some activities and a whole page with financial literacy information and links.
Last, for a book on economics appropriate for high school students through adult, may I recommend What Ever Happened to Penny Candy? Its a good overview of economics.
These are but a few resources to consider. Any way you do it, teaching good money management skills to our children is important.