I remember at an early age my father saying that money doesn’t grow on trees… if I told my children that today, they would reply “Why would anyone think money grows on trees”? That is because their “money tree” is knowing mom’s amazon password to order the next latest and greatest toy. Today’s cashless spending makes educating children about the value of a dollar even more difficult. However, all hope is not lost. Studies show that children as young as age 3 are ready to learn about money. Whether you have young children, older children, or even grandchildren, the Sequoia Team wants to resource you with knowledge, tips and tricks to help prepare the children in your life for financial literacy and success.

Young Kids: Kids learn by experience and most effectively, by having fun. Once your child is old enough to count, you can count change and even make it a game to count enough money to purchase that favorite item or snack at a local spot. You can also bring them to the grocery store and have them help find the best “deal” on different food items. Parents can also use today’s technology to help with lessons. PiggyBot is an app that is a virtual piggy bank. A parent’s goal should be to teach young children that money is not endless.

Pre-teens: When your children are old enough for a weekly allowance, you can start to help them further understand how money is earned and saved. If they perform a job they receive a “paycheck.” The more difficult or demanding the job, the larger the reward. There is an app called Bankaroo which helps kids virtually track savings goals and learn about budgeting. This virtual bank helps kids learn behaviors that help them save and budget for their future spending. The intention is to raise children who move into their adult lives with a solid understanding of how work and financial resources relate to one another, and how to make financial decisions about spending, saving, and investing with a view to the short, and long-term future.

Teens: Teenagers are moving into more adult situations and wielding greater levels of independence in decision-making. They may have their first job or even more responsibility around the house. These jobs are a great way for them to learn the value of a dollar and gain important knowledge about saving for future needs. Around this time, it can also be valuable to open a bank account and see the balance of that account go up and down. They will make spending mistakes, but these mistakes are great lessons that can help shape future financial decisions. BusyKid is an interesting app that allows parents to upload chores and assign monetary values for each of these chores. Once a chore is completed, then actual money can be added to the account. This money can be used to make online purchase, gifts to a charity or even purchase a stock (all with parents’ prior authorization).

An important takeaway is that it’s never too early to begin to help children make important connections regarding saving and spending. The key is age-appropriate lessons and experiences. A comprehensive, and caring financial education is a gift, and a nudge toward a successful adult financial life. Technology offers us some excellent tools to help make saving and spending fun!