It’s amazing to watch someone grow and learn. Before I had Torie I would always heard it from friends who had children. I knew they were exaggerating, but now I can see it for myself. AMAZING!
Sunday afternoon we were discussing easy ways for her to save for next Christmas and I told her about the 52-week savings challenge that a few people are doing. She got all excited and about doing a variation of it where she could have at least $50 at the end of the year. Well, actually she first said, “it’s not $10,000, but I guess it’ll do.”
She started to list the things she wanted in her life: a house, laptop, dance lessons, new school, a dog and cat, etc. Let’s not even get into the number of Barbie accessories on her wish list. Even after she brought up getting a $300 Barbie Ford Mustang, we were able to have a pretty decent discussion about saving money and how easy it would be for her.
Having the “money talk” early with kids is a win-win proposition. When Torie was 4, we used the Moonjar MoneyBox. This three-part recycleable “piggy bank” features sections to save, spend or share. She absolutely loved it, and at that age she put more money into the share portion of the box than in any other. I was proud that she wanted to give away her money to others who may need it, but I then had to share what my father used to tell us when we were younger: “You have to be your own first charity and give first to yourself.”
Last summer, Torie came up with a few money-making ideas which made me proud. She said she wants to set up a business to do chores for some of the older people in our neighborhood, while worthwhile, I think she’s still a bit young to be going door-to-door in her North Philadelphia neighborhood. I told her we could definitely look into making up a business plan and set some goals. I even offered to have her do some things for others on a volunteer basis in exchange for an allowance from me. I love her drive and her desire to help others.
Among the other lessons my father taught me that I don’t plan on sharing are: “I pay the cost to be the boss” and “I own you.” Those were definitely not healthy financial things to learn growing up and have only contributed to an unhealthy relationship with money.
Some of the things I’ll be doing with Torie soon: setting up savings goals, open a high-yield savings account, have deal scavenger hunts and of course keep playing Monopoly (where Torie’s the banker). Making saving money fun will be the key with her. I know that she has things she wants right now and as she gets older those things will probably get bigger and bigger. …and then….there’s college.
Please tell me about the kinds of savings lessons you learned as a child.