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I recently participated in a discussion about women and money with a panel of mothers. Living through the times we are now, it’s extremely crucial to be financially literate. It’s never too early to teach your little one good spending habits and you better believe financial literacy will be my child’s second language.Lately, my daughter has been very concerned about where things come from, and not things like babies, ants or trees, but THINGS like the M&Ms we’re munching on, the sandals she’s wearing, the parmesan cheese she’s sprinkling on her pasta.

The conversation goes something like this:

Sascha: “Where did that come from?”

Me: “What? This pillow? The store.”

Sascha: “Yes, but not the store. You bought it?”

Me: “Yep.”

She certainly understands shopping (she gets that from her mama), but now at four years old, she wants to know about money, what things cost and how exactly she can get some of her own. So, I dusted off the piggy bank my cousin bought for her when she was born. My daughter knows that whenever she gets coins or dollars from me or family or our sweet neighbor Mathilda, she has to put it in her bank to save.

Saving will be the next lesson because she is still not convinced that we need to put the money in this pig and not her little Princess Tiana wallet so she can carry it “just in case” she sees something she wants when we go to the store. That has probably been my philosophy in the past–why save when you can spend?–so baby steps are in order.

We still have a bunch of lessons to go, like: how to set goals to get the things you want; don’t get it twisted, things aren’t that important; and it’s better to give than receive, but know how to accept gifts gracefully.

I found this video inspirational when thinking about teaching kids about money. With a little guidance from his mom, 14-year-old Damon Williams turned his passion for athletic shoes into an stock portfolio worth over $50,000. The video below is courtesy of the PBS show “Money Track.”

RESOURCES

Jump$tart.org: A national coalition of organizations dedicated to improving the financial literacy of pre-kindergarten through college-age youth.

H.I.P. Pocket Change: Mint.com’s Kid Site; fun games, cartoons and lessons about the history of money.

Kid’s Money: a great resource for parents and kids. There is even a section where teenagers can figure out what they would like to when it comes time for them to get a part-time job, and encourages them to start their own business.

Financial literacy should be taught at home and definitely continue in school from the early years. If many a business person would have used more guidance from an early age, I bet we, as a county, would not be in the financial mess we are in now.

Madames, are you teaching your children to be financially literate?

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