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Toddlers and Financial Literacy

I am certainly a believer in teaching your kids about money. I am learning more than a few financial lessons the hard way, and I am not about to blame it on my parents but I am going to do everything that I can to ensure that my children do not repeat my mistakes. While it seems as though I have quite a bit of time before I have to start worrying about it, I wonder how much time I actually do have before I have to worry about it if you know what I mean.

My son is twenty two months old, and nothing gets by him. About a month ago, he uttered his first financial word – “buy”. He says it every time we go to a store, and fortunately right now it is not part of a demand that I buy him something specific. It seems right now to be more of an acknowledgement that we are in a place where we are buying something. Lately I realized that he knows that word because like everything else that we do together, I talk to him about what we are doing and why. I like to think of this as laying the foundation for financial literacy. Certain conversations about money I keep with myself in my head or with my husband after the little guy is asleep. My son does not need to know the details about Mommy’s periodical financial woes. Most of the time though, both my husband and I talk plainly about what we are doing at the store with our money.

As our son grows, we will expand the scope of our conversations around (and with, when he has the words) our son to include things like getting and spending an allowance, the family budget, giving to others, and of course saving for retirement and college. When it comes to talking about money with (or in our case in front of) your children, talk isn’t cheap. In fact, the more times a child hears each word in his or her financial vocabulary the more comfortable he or she will become with the ideas and concepts associated with money and also with money itself.