How to Teach Children About Money

(Image: Lamb)

The author of three novels, Sabrina Lamb is an expert in teaching children about financial management. A featured panelist at past Black Enterprise Women of Power Summits, her award-winning institute creates waiting lists because of its knack at having top financial experts teach money advice to children on everything from real estate investment to stocks, bonds, and insurance. Her book Do I Look Like An ATM? A Parent’s Guide To Raising Financially Educated African-American Children, was a 2014 NAACP Image Awards nominee in Outstanding Literary Work-Instructional.

An artist at heart with a long list of radio and TV appearances to her credit, her chops for writing and acting (she’s currently appearing Off-Broadway in the NYC one-woman show The Saga of Marissa Alexander) make her a colorful addition to those seeking clear, direct, child-focused financial advice. At what age should a parent begin talking to kids about money? What’s the best way to start?

Sabrina Lamb: Children understand the power of money by witnessing their parent’s behavior and the family’s financial culture long before there is a healthy conversation. From the cradle, children monitor how their parents manage finances, hear the money-logues expressed by the parents and often manipulate their parent’s emotions to satisfy their fleeting wants.  In a calm manner, parents should have ongoing conversations regarding the costs of operating households. Teach children to earn and not beg. Children should be given the responsibly of researching how costs can be lowered. Parents can monitor one’s language about money and point out the money lessons in non-pressured moments.

RELATED: A Parent’s Guide To Raising Financially Responsible Children

What would you say are the various phases of financial education and awareness for kids based on their age group?

The phases are: 1) self-awareness 2) self-worth 3) awareness of the power of money. Parents should set financial savings goals as a family, create ‘saving’ competitions, and establish a financial board of directors with qualified financial experts.

What’s the main thing children need to understand about money?

Children must be taught that the flaunting of toxic, mindless consumption of depreciating products does not reflect their self-worth.

Well, a lot of adults have a difficult time understanding that. So what’s the most important thing parents need to understand and work to do when struggling with guilt and the pressure children can place on a parent to buy something?

Parents will never satisfy their own guilt or societal pressures by showering their children with blind consumerism. By continuing to do so, does not empower children. Children seek treasured moments with parents…not things. Of course, children will accept ‘things.’ Parents should know that children forget within 3 to 6 months their recent Christmas gifts. However, they will always remember the dedicated moments that their parents spent with them. Children need love, protection, financial security and the lessons of building generational family wealth.

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