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How to Help Kids Understand Money and Debt

It’s a new and beautiful year in Canada — the perfect time to take advantage of any extra motivation you might be feeling when the calendar flips to January. Have you been mulling over a financial resolution or two? If you’re a parent, we have a suggestion…why don’t you get your kids involved? Resolving to help your kids better understand money concepts like spending, saving and debt  is a sure way to set them on the path towards a healthy financial future.

This resource list gives you everything you need to get started, from games and comics to worksheets and the like.

Golden Girl Finance

This website covers a lot of interesting financial topics that are relevant to a variety of age groups. But it’s mostly written towards adults and older adults, with great tips and resources to help tackle some typical financial issues in your own life, or with your kids.

This post in particular was authored by Teri Courchene, who happens to be an economist at a large bank, and a mother.

It outlines how she handled teaching her daughter about different money topics through the ages, and how she focused the lessons in real life situations.

Practical Money Skills

Here, you’ll find all the resources you imagined would be useful for young kids but didn’t think really existed.

We’re talking about comic books, lesson plans and games.

And, thankfully, the site also has a number of built-in calculators and worksheets that you can print off and use for your own child’s unique needs.

If you child is overcome by the power of consumerism (we’ve all left a store knowing we bought more than we needed) this sheet about prioritizing goals is also helpful.

Instead of only focusing on all the costly things a child might want, it asks what their social goals, family goals and health goals are for the month, season or year (personalize it as you wish).

That can help kids remember that there’s more to life than spending money, and it may help them avoid loading up on debt in the future.

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC)

No list would be complete without including the FCAC.

This federal agency manages to catalogue and incorporate more financial literacy topics than you could imagine.

This page on teaching children about money  is a good place to start. It covers some important topics, like:

  • Appropriate concepts by age
  • Giving a child an allowance (or not)
  • Teaching teens about credit
  • How to manage the financial side of giving your teen a cell phone

But the FCAC is a deep well of resources, and you’ll find information for yourself as well — on topics like consumer debt, how to find debt relief (and who to trust), getting and paying back student loans, purchasing your first home and saving for retirement.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Every Canadian should have the FCAC bookmarked, whether for their kids, or themselves.

The Heavy Purse

In this blog, Shannon Ryan discusses how you should teach your kids to think about debt.

The truth is, debt is a very real (and very persistent) part of our society. Most Canadians are carrying some form of non-mortgage debt, and affordability challenges across the generations make getting out of debt difficult.

That’s why teaching kids about debt is important, rather than sheltering them from the topic until they’re old enough to have to (possibly) manage debt.

Ryan lays out the different types of debt and defines them, which you can translate directly to your child. She suggests finding opportunities in real life that allow the topics to come up somewhat organically.

Kids like to understand what’s going on around them, and that includes financial concepts like spending, saving, affordability and debt. Help your child become engaged, excited and knowledgeable about finances with these resources.

How are your kids learning about money? Tell us on Twitter. #LeaveDebtBehind #FamilyFinances #NewYearMotivation

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