Kids and Money - A Little Education Pays Off

Just about anyone who's ever watched a child or grandchild go from the crib to kindergarten and beyond has uttered the phrase, "They grow up so fast." Although you can't really freeze a youngster's precious moments in time, you can take steps to make sure that his or her journey to adulthood starts with a sound understanding of money, investments, and personal financial responsibility. The following activities will help.

Count on Counting Your Change

Smart shopping might begin with a hunt for bargains, but it should end with a review of your transactions. To drive this message home, encourage your kids to unload the groceries and simultaneously compare price tags with the receipt. If they find a mistake, let them hold on to the refund.

Play "The Stock Market Game™"

Get online and go to www.smg2000.org. There you'll find "The Stock Market Game." Sponsored by the Foundation for Investment Education, it lets kids in grades 4 through 12 assemble and monitor a hypothetical $100,000 portfolio for 10 weeks.

Make a Matching Contribution

Want to motivate a child to save? Just offer to "match" a portion of each savings account deposit he or she makes. And don't be afraid to set a few rules — for example, matching contributions can't be spent on candy or pizza.

Take Stock of Household Products

If your child is old enough to understand the concept of stocks and publicly traded companies, go through the house together and identify favorite items, such as computers and clothing. Then look up the manufacturer's stock price and monitor it over time.

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