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Tips on how to raise money-smart kids

Young children may notice that their parents use a plastic card to make purchases and they go to a machine and money comes out, while older children want to spend, spend, spend.

So how can parents give children a “behind the scenes” look at money and teach them about smart money management?

Here are three tips to help you get started:

1. Make the most of teaching moments
The best time to teach children is when they express an interest or as soon as they start to notice money transactions. The next time they ask to buy candy or toys, use the opportunity to instruct and explain. Discuss basic financial concepts that they can relate to, such as how writing a check affects your balance.

2. Consider an allowance
When children have their own money to spend, they're more likely to appreciate its value. However, before receiving an allowance, kids should know how to add and subtract, differentiate between coins and bills, and show an interest in spending.

If you don't believe in allowances, don't feel compelled to pay. But it's wise to give them opportunities to manage money they earn or receive as gifts.

3. Make saving a habit
Whether it's earnings from mowing lawns or a weekly allowance, children should save at least 10 percent of their income. If they learn to regularly put that money into savings, they'll be less likely to spend it all.

Your children will likely be excited to make regular deposits and know their own money is growing. Encouraging children to save carries rewards far beyond material objects. It shows them the power of setting and achieving goals.

Raising money-smart kids begins with your decision to make it an important issue. Starting now will help them develop strong financial management skills later in life.

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