Money is always a hot topic in every family.  Sometimes good...sometimes bad.  Money is the root of all evil!  Well, it sure can cause a ton of arguments, that's for sure. If you're like my wife and me, you don't want your kids to make the same mistakes that you did.  Oh, if I'd only known then what I know now.

We're all aware that a solid education is important for our kids. But while you’re busy making sure their reading and math skills are up to par, don’t forget the money.  Teaching them at a young age about money, savings, spending, budgeting, all those fun things, could lead them to a much happier and secure adulthood.

But, stop, you say.  I don't know what to tell them.  I'm just digging myself out of the hole I dug myself into.

Here is some help for all of us.

Beth Kobliner, author of 'Get a Financial Life,' wrote a summary paper of the outcomes from the Youth Subcommittee of President Obama's Advisory Council on Financial Capability.  It's a long title, and even a longer blueprint, thousands of pages, on what kids should know about money, and when.  Thus, Beth's summary.

Here’s what she recommends:

  • Ages 3-5: A child should learn that money is needed to buy things and that money is obtained by working. He should also know the difference between “need” and “want,” and that immediate gratification is not always the smartest choice.
  • Ages 6-10: Kids should know they must make choices about how to spend their money and that it’s important to search for the best deal. They should also be taught about the dangers of sharing too much information online, and that putting money in a bank account will protect it and earn interest.
  • Ages 11-13: This is a good age to teach children about saving. Tell them it’s smart to save 10 percent of what they earn and that the earlier they save, the more money they’ll have down the line. It’s also an excellent time to start talking about credit cards and how they can owe more if they don’t pay their balance each month.
  • Ages 14-18: Teens should have an understanding that college can cost a lot of money and that a school and loans should be chosen based in part on career goals. Kids this age should also be told not to use credit cards for things they cannot afford in cash. In addition, have a discussion about payroll taxes and the difference between gross pay and take-home pay, and let them know a great place to save and invest is a Roth IRA.
  • Ages 18 and up: Young adults should understand that credit cards shouldn’t used unless the balances can be paid off every month, and the importance of always having health insurance. Also, let them know about the importance of diversified investments and that they should pay attention to the costs associated with various investment products.

How's that for helpful?  It's a good starting guide for all parents.  So get with the program and help your kids now.  In today's world, it's extremely important that our leaders of tomorrow are guided by their parents today!