Back-to-school signals a renewed focus on education. That includes your child’s financial education. The start of the new school year is the perfect time to review your kids’ proficiency with money. Use our back-to-school kids’ financial literacy checklist to prepare for the year ahead, with new and exciting financial learning opportunities that reinforce current skills and introduce new ones, relative to your child’s age and development.
Allowances are an essential part of your child’s financial education. They’re a fundamental building block in teaching your kids about saving, spending, budgeting, and even borrowing.
- If your child’s heading into Grade 1-2, it’s time to start giving them a modest allowance, paid weekly in cash.
- Regardless of age, we recommend reviewing allowances at least annually. If you forgot to revise your child’s allowance at their last birthday or the beginning of the calendar year, now’s an ideal time to consider appropriate changes to the amount, frequency, and/or payment method.
- Take into account income from paid employment when adjusting allowance for middle and high school students.
Just as your kid’s allowance should increase as they get older, so too should their purchase responsibilities. Purchase responsibilities help kids learn about real-life costs, wants versus needs, and the importance of budgeting.
- Review your child’s purchase responsibilities now to ensure they remain aligned with allowance, age, financial trustworthiness, and living expenses.
- Prepare your teen for financial independence at college and beyond, by gradually transitioning costs and responsibilities throughout middle and high school.
As your kids get older, age-appropriate chores support the household and teach kids valuable life skills, self-reliance, and time management planning.
- Even if your youngster’s starting preschool or Kindergarten this Fall, they can still accomplish basic chores like tidying toys and throwing away trash.
- Increase chores in line with your kids’ physical and emotional maturity, providing appropriate instruction and supervision.
Jobs And Work
Once your older kids, preteens, and teens are settled back into the school routine, encourage them to take on odd jobs for extra allowance or paid employment. Such opportunities support financial learning in multiple ways, such as saving towards longer term goals and understanding taxes.
- Kids in Grades 6-9 can consider paid jobs at home or around the neighborhood, like raking leaves, shoveling snow, or mowing lawns.
- The minimum age for employment is 14 years of age, so if your teen’s heading into high school, they’re probably old enough to find part-time work during the upcoming school year.
- September-October is a good time for job hunting, especially as college-age employees abandon part-time work to head back to school. Help your teen prepare a professional-looking resumé, apply for jobs, and track income and expenditures.
If philanthropy is a core family value, use the new school year to teach your kids about charitable giving.
- Introduce a ‘Giving’ coin jar to accompany ‘Save’ and ‘Spend’ jars for youngsters.
- Help your kids sort out unused or gently used clothes, toys, and school supplies to donate to charity.
- Volunteer opportunities can provide insights into future careers, teach important job skills, and are often a requirement for high school graduation.
Saving And Spending
The start of a new school year is a good time to help your kids set some key short- and longer term saving goals such as saving for birthday and holiday gifts, or looking ahead to spring break travel.
- Counting saved coins together teaches your child coin values and also supports Grade 1-2 math and number concepts.
- Help older kids and preteens create a basic budget that balances spending wisely today with saving for tomorrow.
- Consider implementing a matching program to encourage conscientious saving for kids 10 and older.
Banking is an important real-world element of your kid’s financial education. It helps kids learn about financial terminology, savings and interest, financial technology, and much more.
- If your kids are aged 8-10, now’s the time to help them establish a bank account.
- Find out if your child’s school partners with a local child-friendly bank or encourages ‘school banking’.
If your student’s heading to high school this Fall, now’s the time to start talking with them about saving for college and who’s paying for what.
- Back-to-school for high school sophomores and juniors typically means college visits.
- For seniors, the new school year should bring college applications, scholarship searches, and FAFSA submissions.
- Discuss the choices that will impact your teen’s future income and lifestyle.
There’s too much to learn about money to give your kids a quick crash course just before they leave for college. The building blocks of financial literacy need time and experience to take root and grow. It’s time to start teaching your kids about money now, to help them achieve financial success in the future.
If you’re interested in making a wise investment in your own future, please contact SageVest Wealth Management to learn more about our comprehensive, customized services.