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Give your child the gift of fiscal responsibility

Help them shape their financial futures.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 6:57PM

This post comes from Linsey Knerl at partner blog Wise Bread.

Kids may think they know what they want to get for the holidays this year, but that doesn't mean they have a clue about what they need. Use this gift-giving opportunity as a chance to invest in them and help change their financial futures

Here is a rundown of some of the best money-management gifts I have used for kids under 12.

The Money Savvy Kids @ Home program by Money Savvy Generation. One of the most comprehensive financial-education packages on the market, it's designed to be used as a complete curriculum on money. Home educators will find that it is very similar to a unit study, complete with parent handbook, student workbook, CD-ROM and cool piggy bank. I've tried this program and found it to be one of the most interesting. Covering the basic money principles -- save, spend, donate, invest -- reminded me of my financial goals, and I  learned some quirky facts about the history of money in the process. This is a well- thought-out program with much to offer kids ages 6 to 11.

Learning ATM. Grown-ups wanting to incorporate faith into their finances will find that the late Larry Burkett's Learning ATM is a great way to teach philanthropic giving at an early age. This piggy bank-meets-calculator allows kids to punch in their amounts as they make deposits to watch their giving/saving/spending amounts add up. Plastic ATM cards act like keys to keep the bank safe from snooping siblings (or parents needing a spare quarter for tolls).

Preschool Money Manager Toolkit. The Tessy & Tab Reading Club, a fun reading program for kids ages 2 to 6, has introduced money management to the preschool scene. Two story books teach earning money and how to save, spend and share via colorful pictures and bold text. Kids can make deposits into their Moonjar money bank, and parents can read about chores, allowance, and incorporating money management into their little ones' lives.

Need to read more before starting a money-education program at home? Kiplinger has come out with a very smart guide that covers many of the basics of teaching your kids finance, called "Raising Money Smart Kids: What They Need to Know about Money and How to Tell Them." This is a great read with everything from lemonade stands to college funds, and all the in-betweens.

Before you stuff another crisp bill into that kid's Christmas card this year, think ahead to what it will be worth. An educated child will put that money to good use and will be prepared to make solid financial decisions later in life. Your gift choice may not make your children the envy of all their friends now, but someday they really could be.

Other articles of interest at Wise Bread:

Published Dec. 20, 2007


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