Love And Logic Solutions To Teaching Kids About Money

The Love And Logic series of books has garnered a good deal of interest, they are designed as guides for parents who want to avoid the parenting traps that are oh so easy to fall into. This latest book by authors Jim Fay & Kristan Leatherman introduces us to the world of money and kids. Cutting to the chase here, the one fact that is without question, is that teaching kids at an early age about money will pay dividends later when they take their first footsteps in the adult world.

How soon should you start? Well Jim and Kristan maintain that it is never too early. Before the baby can walk and talk, why not set up the framework for the future, a savings account, or some other small financial tool. So many people do not realize the amazing power of compound interest when it is applied over many years. Those few regular and not missed dollars every week or month easily pays for college, with much left over.

Once a child is old enough to learn to count, let them play with money, either real or pretend. Play shopping games, let the child count out the change. This provides some context between material items and the more ethereal world of money. Teaching these skills early can avoid those dreaded shopping excursions that almost always include “But I need this mommy, just get more money from the bank”, or other regularly heard phrases in the store.

The older child requires more mature rules the authors tell us. A question that is often posed is that of allowance. Should a childs allowance be tied to household chores? The Love And Logic solution is a resounding NO. That is not to say that a child should not be responsible for helping with the chores, just do not directly join the two concepts together. That is not to say that there cannot be an indirect linkage. There can be consequences, but not punishments, and these should be delivered with empathy not animosity. If a bedroom is left dirty, yet the bedroom was on the chore list, then when Allowance Day comes around give the child the entire amount, but include your ‘bill’ for doing the chore for him or her, and make them pay you, there and now. The fact that they have their money, and then lose a portion, brings home the idea of worth. But make sure that you charge a reasonable rate. If the allowance is $20, and you charge $1 for cleaning their bedroom, chances are they will just learn to live with that solution.  But, if you charge an hour of labor at $7, this is another deal entirely. You have charged ‘minimum wage’ yet shown how important wages are. Maybe the most important part is how the ‘blow’ is delivered, do it with empathy. “Oh, I feel for you”, “Maybe you could check out the local cleaning services”, or “maybe pay your sister to help”. The possibilities are endless, and the results, fruitful. Once again the child finds fiscal knowledge.

If I have a problem with Millionaire Babies Or Bankrupt iBrats, it is the length. Yes, it is compendious in the situations and responses that it uses, it is a hugely helpful book, but at over 400 pages, it is a long read. The authors may have been better splitting this book up into two or three smaller books aimed at parents with a child within a  specific age group.

That said, it does offer a very clear, and very sensible road map. A road map that many parents could use that would avoid many of the ‘sink holes’ that may of us parents have found ourselves in while dealing with our children.

If you learn just one skill from the book, make it the needs versus wants. Every child needs and wants things, but teaching the difference between this similar words  can make a wold of difference.  A need is a basic requirement for life, a want is something that would be nice to have.

I saw a great example of this today, my step son  ‘needed’ a tricked out Mustang car, something that he could be cool in. This was not a ‘need’ it was a want. He would like to be the alpha male in his peer group, and a Mustang would buy prestige. But can he afford it? The simple answer is no. What he needs, is a cheap and reliable car. Wants and Needs, are two very different concepts, teaching the difference to young children will make it less of an issue as they become older.

You can get your copy of Millionaire Babies Or Bankrupt Brats from Amazon.

Simon Barrett

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