Media Contact
Dan Welch
Colorado Department of Human Services
303.866.3808
Maggie Spain
The Bawmann Group
303.320.7790

December 27, 2010

Teaching Children of All Ages Money Management Skills in the New Year

Millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet during these difficult economic times. Even as adults, people have a hard time managing money properly, admitting a lack of understanding of certain financial concepts such as saving, spending and investing money wisely. According to a recent survey from the Networks Financial Institute at Indiana State University, less than 30 percent of U.S. adults view their personal financial knowledge as very good or better. The good news, however, is that more than 8 in 10 of those same adults feel it is important that financial literacy be taught to others. This new-year, Colorado fathers are encouraged to empower their children with a strong financial future by teaching them practical ways to manage money.

“As parents, it is our responsibility to prepare our children for responsible adulthood,” said Dan Welch, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “Teaching children financial literacy concepts is a smart way fathers can help their children get ahead and secure their future. Not only will fathers positively impact the future of their children’s lives but those of the larger community as well.”

Setting goals, getting organized, building a budget and saving are the foundation of any well-conceived money management plan. There are simple ways fathers can teach these concepts and guide their children toward financial stability, no matter their age. Familyeducation.com provides the following ways to teach children financial literacy skills:

Kids ages 6-10:
The goal for kids of elementary school age is to learn basic concepts about money.
  • Identify money. Work with your child to make sure they know the difference between a quarter, nickel or penny.
  • Make change. Make sure your child knows if they have enough money to buy something or if they were given the right amount of change by practicing addition and subtraction.
  • Be responsible for money. Teach your children to be responsible for their own money. Be clear that if they lose the dollar in their pocket it is their loss and you won’t replace it.
  • Understand that things cost money. Teach your children to understand that nothing is free, whether it’s candy bars or expensive toys.
  • Handle an allowance. Set expectations for your child’s allowance. For example, include a modest savings plan to pay for things they want.
Kids ages 11-13:
As children grow older so should their responsibilities with money.
  • Set up a savings plan. As your child ages set goals that are more far-reaching. For example, save for a special experience—a day skiing in the mountains or shopping at the mall.
  • Set up a savings account. A piggy bank is okay for children in elementary school, but as their savings grows, it's time to place it in a commercial bank. Take this time to go to the bank together to set up an account in your child’s name.
  • Give to charity. Even if it's only a little money, giving to a worthy cause will help kids see the value of a dollar.
  • Shop wisely. Children this age may spend time at the mall on their own, but they need to know about shopping for value.
Kids ages 14-18:
Children in this age group should have a firm grasp of certain money essentials. It is only a matter of time before they are out making financial decisions on their own.
  • Save for college. College is an investment worth making—and for this age group, it's just around the corner.
  • Get a job. Nothing teaches teenagers about the value of a dollar as fast as working for it. This makes it clear that money doesn’t grow on trees.
  • Learn about investments. Your child may not yet have the resources to buy a Treasury bill or 100 shares of Microsoft, but it's important that they understand at this age how investments differ and how investing in general can be beneficial.
  • Understand how to budget. Money isn't infinite so children should know how to make a budget and allocate their money to buy the things they need and want.
  • Educate about credit cards and other debt. It's never too early to learn about the dangers of having too much debt and what consequences debt brings.
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In October 2006, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division was awarded a $10 million federal grant over five years to strengthen father/child relationships and improve parenting. Colorado is one of just two locations nationwide, including Washington, D.C., to receive this federal community access grant. The Responsible Fatherhood Initiative distributes more than $1.1 million in awards to state, community and faith based organizations to assist in providing direct services to fathers and families. Awards of up to $50,000 are distributed per program per fiscal year. For more information on a fatherhood program in your community, please visit www.coloradodads.com.