Teaching Kids about Money. Yes or No?

At the Kids Bank cashing our 'cheques' at CampZoneI had an interesting conversation with the owner of a private school about HEART Learning the other day. He loved the philosophy: Health and Wellness, Emotional Intelligence, Academic Excellence, Readiness for the World of Finance and Talent through art. What’s not to love? He stopped when I told him more about our Mini-Economy and how we replicate the real world economy in order to help kids understand the world of money. “I disagree” he said. “We live in such a money hungry society and we are just training our kids to be a part of that at such a young age?!” He was very passionate about what he was saying. “I mean everything today is just about money…why not teach the kids to earn ‘points’ or teach them to do well simply because it’s the right thing to do? Why associate everything with money?”

Interesting perspective, however completely not why we replicate the economy at Golden Goose. I agree. Today’s world is more about ‘the money’ however if we look at the order of events in our lives here is what I believe happens. As we grow our parents support us through school and advise us to ‘do well’, ‘get good grades’, ‘do your best’ etc. Why Mom? Why Dad? Answer: “Well, so when you get older like me, you’ll get a good job.” Most of the time the conversation (at least back then) ends there! Grow up, play, have fun, study well and get good grades at school, to get a GOOD job, that pays well. What then? No one every explains with that job MONEY comes..and then what? I know! I’ll spend it!! Buy food, clothes, entertainment, travel etc.  And the rat race begins. You get yourself in the world of go to work, make money, spend A LOT, get a credit card to spend MORE, savings? are you kidding??? I can barely make it!! Invest? What’s invest mean??? Assets more than your liabilities?? Huh??

My point is that no one every teaches our kids what’s next after they get that job. The world of money is a  study and most of us miss the boat until way in our late 30’s or 40’s and sometimes longer! Our lives as adults (and most of the stress) comes from ‘how am I going to make enough money to do XY or Z?’ Meanwhile few  adults actually learn about the world of money and have their money working for them! They invest, own equity, wealth and work less much less than the average working man/woman yet earn  A LOT more! Now back to ‘get a GOOD job’. for a minute: What if I want to create my OWN job? Own my own business and become an entrepreneur? No one teaches that in school, yet it is a wonderful opportunity to create your own business: use your creativity, create more jobs, and get to make money doing something you love. Why not?

What we do with HEART Learning is not teach kids how to be money hungry, capitalistic, dishonest money mongers. We teach them financial responsiblity, what debit and credit mean, investment, loans and how to be an entrepreneur if they choose. All those words are real, exist and why not prepare them for it? All of this financial teaching is at a very basic level in order to help prepare our young students for the future, and that future does involve making, spending, saving, investing and all other sorts of transactions with money. What’s the harm in teaching a 7 or 8-year-old the concept of demand and supply? They can understand scarcity, opportunity cost and pricing especially if it taught in a fun way: like our Mini-Economy program! Every student gets a ‘job’ (one of my favourites is our meterologis) and earns ‘dollars’. They all have ledgers and get to record ‘debits and credits’ and they balance their books by the end of each month to cash their cheques at the ‘bank’. We have a banker, economist, mini-economy leader and our students just love it! I think that knowledge is power. We should empower our kids and to start teaching them about the world of money at a basic level.  This will  help them get ahead of the game by giving them the tools to understand how money works even if they choose not to be an investment banker in the future.

So I ask you…what are your thoughts around teaching kids about money?

Here is an article by Suze Orman’s Four Top Financial Lessons to Teach Your Kids. Let us know what you think!


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