The White House Wants to Teach Your Kids About Finance

The White House Wants to Teach Your Kids About Finance

So you want to teach your kids about money, huh?

LearnVest Moms aims to help you with that every day; we've talked about how to teach kids about savings and credit, how to get them interested in charity and even our favorite games to make money fun.

Now the White House wants in.


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This spring the government launched Money as You Grow, an online, interactive tool to give families a guideline for teaching kids 3 to 18 (and even beyond) essential money lessons, like how to make good choices when spending, and why it's important to save for an emergency.

So should you use it? Here's more of what you'll find ...

What Is 'Money As You Grow'?

The site, developed by the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability, was created to provide parents with a guideline for 20 essential, age-appropriate financial lessons kids need to know as they grow older, each accompanied by a corresponding activity, like comparing toy prices at the store.

"It was clear that we needed a tool to help us talk to children about the financial basics," says Beth Kobliner, member of the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability. "Only 13 states require students to take a personal finance course in order to graduate high school. That leaves parents, who are the number one influence on their children's financial behaviors. But they often feel ill-equipped to teach their kids."
Ages for activities and lessons are broken into five groups on the site: 3-5 years, 6-10 years, 11-13 years, 14-18 years and 18+ years. "Each money milestone contains behavior-changing activities that parents can incorporate into everyday life—which is the best way for kids to learn anyway," Kobliner says. "Our goal is that a parent or caregiver who has no idea how to teach a child about money could start here."

There is also a poster available for download on the site that includes the four lessons for each age group.

Where Do the Activities Come From?

According to Kobliner, information for the site was developed through careful review. "The Council spent 16 months whittling down dozens of studies, standards and curricula to the 20 essential milestones kids should reach at different ages," she says. "Sources range from the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association's Common Core State Standards for Mathematics to a study about how eating dinner as a family can improve your finances."

So far, the American Library Association, American Savings Education Council, American School Counselor Association and The Institute for Student Empowerment are all using these new guidelines to teach money, along with many others.

What Does the Council Hope to Achieve With This?

Many of the activities for each age group are actually talking points--a suggested way to get the conversation started with your kids. As one reporter put it: "[The guidelines] won't transform the population into money wizards overnight. The idea is to raise enough awareness of financial issues that individuals will know enough to at least ask more questions when confronted with a financial decision."

For the Council's part, Kobliner says, "Our hope is that Money as You Grow becomes an important tool for making sure the next generation doesn't make the same mistakes that we did."

Even before this new government initiative came out, we at LearnVest came up with our own timeline for financial lessons to teach according to age here--and as chance would have it, our activities are on par with what the Council suggests. If you use both Money as You Grow and our year-by-year timeline with fun activities to help guide you through teaching your child about money, your kid should be well on his way to, well, financial wizardry.


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