Kid Friendly Finance 

The current economy has many people feeling shaky about their finances. Could a lack of early education be at the root of many people’s money troubles?Money is a taboo topic in many households. But some experts say open and honest discussions with kids early on could help to create a more financially savvy generation. “When I was growing up nobody really taught me about finance. It wasn’t something that was discussed at home and I really had to find my own way and learn things sometimes the hard way.” Says D’arcy Main-Boyington, a financially savvy mother.Main-Boyington started teaching her son Jed about finances at a young age. She wants him to be comfortable with concepts like credit, savings and long term planning. “Let’s say you do it and it’s gonna be really good for the afternoon. It might not be for the rest of the year.” Jed explains. The current economy has left many people in a financial mess and like Main-Boyington, some parents are trying to teach their hard learned lessons to the next generation. Marion Syverson, President of Norumbega Financial, believes teaching kids about money in a fun way is key to helping them understand. “You can have games where you’re doing it with fun, you can make kids shop with you, it depends on the age of the kid” explains Syverson. Tools like educational comic books can make learning easier and relating it to things kids like can make it more fun.Syverson says, “I mean I like pretty stuff, so if there’s a way I can get more pretty stuff because I’m learning about money that’s fun for me.” Syverson says an allowance can be a good way for parents to ease their kids into the world of saving and spending. “Allow them to make small errors while you’re right there. Ok, so they blow the whole allowance. What happens now? They’re not making a car payment, they get arrested? Nothing bad happens. Now is a really good time to make mistakes with money, because you’re right there.” Says Syverson. Catherine Haskell works with Junior Achievement, a nation-wide program that goes into K-through-12 classrooms and teaches kids about the economy and their community. “It’s all hands on activities. We break it down into simple digestible lessons for them.”The lesson are age appropriate. They start by teaching the younger kids about saving money. Haskell says, “Then in the high school, we talk much more about micro, macro, and international economics.” The goal is to teach them how to plan for their financial future. Haskell taught her own daughter to be fiscally responsible by putting her in charge! “She had to pay the bills and she had to decide how we spent our extra money.” Haskell explains.Syverson agrees real world lessons may be the best way for kids to learn. She thinks parents should take the taboo out of talking about money. “Perhaps then they won’t argue with us as much. I mean I have friends who have actually let their kids go shopping with them and said this is all the money we have for school clothes this year, use it the best way you think.” Experts say learning these lessons early will help kids plan for their future. The Federal Reserve has fun and educational resources linked on their website.For more information on Junior Achievment you can visit their website.