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Building a Financial Future: How to Teach Kids About Savings and Investments

Updated: Jan 27

Hey there, parents and guardians! Let's talk about something super important – teaching our kids about Savings and Investments. As someone who's spent years helping parents like you guide their little ones through the maze of personal finance, I can't stress enough how crucial this skill is. It's not just about money; it's about setting them up for a secure, independent future. So, let's dive in and make financial literacy fun and accessible for our kids!


Table of Contents

  1. Laying the Foundation of Financial Literacy

  2. Savings - The First Step to Financial Security

  3. Beyond Savings - Introducing Investments

  4. Tools and Resources for Financial Education

  5. Creating a Practical Financial Plan for Kids


Kids learning about savings and investing

Laying the Foundation of Financial Literacy

Understanding Money

Understanding money is the cornerstone of financial literacy. It's essential for kids to grasp that money isn't just about paper bills and shiny coins; it represents value and is a key to obtaining what we need and desire in life. Making this concept tangible and engaging for kids can be a fun experience for the whole family. Here are some effective methods:

  • Play Money Games: Utilize play money to make learning about different denominations of bills and coins interactive. You can create a mini-bank at home where they can exchange smaller bills for larger ones or vice versa. This helps them understand the concept of equivalent value.

  • Shopping Role Play: Set up a small 'store' at home where items have price tags. Give your kids play money and let them 'purchase' items. This not only makes learning fun but also teaches them the skill of transaction – how to pay for something and receive change.

The Concept of Earning

Earning is a fundamental aspect of understanding money. It's vital for kids to realize that money is earned through effort and responsibility. This early lesson in work ethic and the value of money sets the stage for their future financial behavior. Here are some ways to introduce the concept of earning:

  • Small Jobs for Money: Encourage your children to take on small tasks, like setting up a lemonade stand, doing yard work, or helping with household chores, in exchange for a small amount of money. This not only teaches them about earning but also instills a sense of responsibility and hard work.

  • Teach Responsibility: Make the connection between money and responsibility clear. Explain that money isn't simply given; it's a reward for effort and responsibility. This could involve giving them small amounts of money for consistently completing their chores or excelling in their academic or extracurricular activities.

By engaging in these activities, children begin to understand the basics of financial literacy, setting a strong foundation for more complex concepts like savings and investments. It's a journey that's both educational and fun, equipping them with the knowledge and skills they'll need for their financial future.

child understanding money through a lemonade stand

Savings - The First Step to Financial Security

Why Save?

Saving money is akin to planting seeds that will grow into a strong financial tree in the future. It's the bedrock of financial security and independence. Here's how to convey the importance of savings to kids:

  • For Future Needs: Teach children that savings are not just for immediate gratification but for future needs and desires. This could be for anything from a new bike to their college education. It's about having the resources for larger, more significant purchases or emergencies down the line.

  • Goal Setting: Saving money is an excellent way to introduce children to the concept of goal setting. Whether they are saving for a small toy, a video game, or something larger like a trip to an amusement park, setting a savings goal helps them learn the value of planning and discipline.

Practical Saving Strategies

Developing a saving habit early on sets the stage for a lifetime of financial responsibility. Here are some strategies to make saving both fun and educational:

  • Piggy Banks and Savings Charts: Utilize tangible tools like piggy banks or clear jars to save physical money, so kids can visually see their savings grow. Supplement this with savings charts where they can track their progress towards specific goals. This visual representation of their savings journey can be incredibly motivating.

  • Match Their Savings: Implement a 'savings match' program at home. For instance, for every dollar your child saves, contribute an additional 50 cents or a dollar. This not only encourages them to save more but also teaches them the basic principle of employer match programs in retirement accounts, laying groundwork for future financial concepts.

  • Regular Savings Discussions: Engage in regular discussions about their savings. This could be a monthly sit-down to talk about how much they've saved, what they're saving for, and how close they are to their goal. It's an opportunity to celebrate their progress and discuss any adjustments to their saving strategies.

Through these methods, children learn that saving is more than just putting money aside; it's an exercise in foresight, patience, and responsibility. It's about making informed choices with their money and understanding the power of financial planning from a young age.

children learning about investments

Beyond Savings - Introducing Investments

What is Investment?

After mastering savings, the next financial frontier for kids to explore is investments. Investments take the concept of saving money a step further; it’s about actively using money to make more money. It's an essential part of financial growth and security. Here's how to introduce this concept:

  • Simple Investment Examples: Start with basic examples of investments like savings bonds, which are government-issued and generally safer, or family-friendly stocks in companies they recognize and connect with (like their favorite toy company). This helps them understand that investing is putting money into something that could grow in value over time.

  • Explain with Stories: Kids love stories, and what better way to teach them about investments? Use simple, relatable tales to illustrate how investments work. For instance, tell a story about someone who bought shares in a lemonade stand and how they got more money back when the stand became popular. This kind of storytelling makes complex concepts like stocks and bonds more digestible for young minds.

Check out our article where we cover the top 12 stock market terms that kids should know before investing!

Risk and Reward

Understanding the balance of risk and reward is crucial in the world of investments. It’s not just about the potential to grow money, but also about making informed and smart choices.

  • Teach About Risks: Use understandable examples to illustrate that investments come with risks. For example, relate to a scenario where a new ice cream flavor they invested in (hypothetically) didn’t sell well because it was too unique. This helps them grasp that not all investments yield returns and some can even lead to losses.

  • Smart Decisions: Encourage kids to think critically and do their research before making any investment decisions. Teach them to ask questions like: What is this company about? How has it performed in the past? What do the experts say about it? This approach fosters a mindset of making educated and reasoned investment decisions.

By introducing the basics of investments in a way that's accessible and engaging, kids can begin to understand the value and power of using money to create more money. It sets them up for more advanced financial concepts and decisions in the future, ensuring they are well-equipped to handle their finances with confidence and insight.

kids learning about investing and saving

Tools and Resources for Financial Education

Educational Games and Apps

In today's digital age, there's a wealth of interactive tools at our fingertips designed to make learning about money both fun and effective. Here are some ways to leverage technology for financial education:

  • Finance-Themed Games: There's a plethora of apps and games specifically designed to teach financial concepts in an engaging manner. Look for games that simulate real-world financial scenarios, like running a business, budgeting for a trip, or investing in stocks. These games often come with fun challenges and levels, making the learning process exciting and interactive.

  • Interactive Learning Apps: Seek out apps that offer interactive and hands-on learning experiences. These can range from virtual savings trackers to investment simulation games. The key is to find apps that are not only educational but also captivating enough to keep kids engaged.

If you're looking for some more exact examples, we have an article that covers our top 10 favorite digital tools for teaching kids about financial literacy.

Books and Workshops

While technology is a great tool, traditional methods like books and workshops still hold immense value in teaching financial literacy:

  • Age-Appropriate Books: The market is full of fantastic books that introduce financial concepts to children in a way that's easy for them to understand. For younger kids, look for picture books that introduce basic concepts like saving and earning. For older kids and teenagers, there are books that delve into more complex topics like investing, budgeting, and entrepreneurship. Choose books that are not only informative but also enjoyable to read.

  • Workshops and Classes: Many communities offer workshops and classes on financial literacy for kids. These can be found at local community centers, libraries, or schools. These workshops often provide a more structured and comprehensive approach to learning about finances and are a great way for kids to learn alongside their peers. Additionally, many of these programs bring in experts in the field, providing an invaluable resource for deeper understanding.

By utilizing a combination of modern apps and games along with traditional learning resources like books and workshops, you can create a well-rounded and effective financial education plan for your kids. These tools not only impart essential knowledge but also make the process of learning about finances engaging and enjoyable.

fun ways for kids to understanding saving through planning

Creating a Practical Financial Plan for Kids

Setting Financial Goals

Setting financial goals is a critical step in teaching kids the value of money and planning. It turns abstract concepts into tangible targets and provides motivation for saving and investing. Here’s how to approach this:

  • Help Them Set Goals: Work with your kids to set achievable financial goals. These could range from short-term objectives like saving for a new toy or game, to long-term goals such as saving for college or a car. The key is to ensure these goals are realistic and attainable, which helps in keeping them motivated and focused.

  • Encourage Patience: Part of financial planning is learning the virtue of patience. Teach kids that some goals, especially the more significant ones, take time and consistent effort to achieve. This lesson in delayed gratification is invaluable and applies to many aspects of life beyond finance.

Tracking Progress and Adjusting Goals

Having set the goals, it’s important to track progress and stay flexible in adjusting these goals as needed.

  • Regular Check-ins: Establish a routine of regular check-ins to discuss their financial goals and the progress they’ve made. This could be a monthly sit-down where you go over their savings, talk about any challenges they faced, and celebrate milestones reached. These discussions not only keep the goals in focus but also provide an opportunity for you to guide and encourage them.

  • Be Flexible: Teach kids that it’s okay to adjust their goals as circumstances change. Maybe they’ve outgrown the toy they were saving for, or they’ve found a new interest they want to invest in. Flexibility in financial planning is a key skill, as it adapts to life’s ever-changing scenarios. This adaptability ensures that their financial plan remains relevant and aligned with their current interests and needs.

By helping kids set and track financial goals, and teaching them to be patient and flexible, you’re not just assisting them in managing their money. You’re imparting life skills that will help them make informed decisions, stay adaptable, and remain goal-oriented throughout their lives. This foundational knowledge in financial planning is a gift that will keep on giving, paving the way for a future of financial awareness and security.


Alright, that's a wrap on Savings and Investments for Kids. Remember, the key is to start these conversations early and keep them going. Your patience and consistency will pay off big time, setting your kids up for a financially savvy future. We're not just teaching them about money; we're teaching them life skills that will serve them forever. So, let's get started today and make a difference in their tomorrows!


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