Five Tips to Avoid Raising Financially Illiterate Kids

“Many parents would rather talk to their kids about sex and politics than money,” says St. Louis investment expert, Matt Hall, President and Co-Founder of Hill Investment Group.

He continues, “The dangers of not being financially literate are huge. Many parents set the child up for failure by remaining silent on the topic of money, but also by helping to create a lifestyle that is unsustainable once the child is independent. We all want to build resilient little people, but the key is to be intentional about the lessons and values we talk about, teach and model.”

Some advice for talking to your kids this summer, Hall adds, ”Talk about making money, analyze costs, develop a plan and recognize the power of being responsible…these are the initial steps for success.”  He can break it down into age groups as well – from toddler to teen – but here are some tips:

  • When should a parent begin talking to their child/ren about money?

A general rule of thumb is to start teaching basic money concepts when a child can count. The truth is that they’ve probably already started learning about money by watching and observing Mom and Dad’s behaviors when dealing with and talking about money. Check out this awesome link for a curriculum to follow from kindergarten to 12th grade .

  • How should a parent open the dialogue?

Start by making it natural. Normalize the topic by talking about it and being open regarding how you and the family will make important money decisions. Conversations can start at the check out counter or at the kitchen table, but the point is to start and then layer money talk in wherever and whenever you can.

  • Should children get an allowance?

Yes, an allowance can be considered income for a child’s first job. It’s not a gift. Make the expectations crystal clear and hold firm to paying only for top notch work. If making the bed is a basic requirement then don’t pay for it. Pay for tasks that go beyond expected chores.

  • When a child has their own money, how should they be advised to spend it?

Consider sharing experience instead of giving advice. Let your child consider making a choice instead of feeling like she might have to either go with your guidance or against it. Talk about taxes, charity and personal spending decisions you’ve made in the past. Which ones are you proud of and why? Where would you love to have a “do over.”

  • If my son wants to spend all his money in the vending machine, should I stop him?

If your son makes a conscious decision to spend all his money in the vending machine the consequence will be revealed when he can’t buy something else. One of the best ways to teach children about the boundaries of money is for them to bump into them (in safe ways) on their own. Think of this as tuition towards a valuable lesson.

Unlike the often dry and academic investment advice provided by brokers, Hall’s storytelling is entertaining and inspirational and he has advice for all age groups including children and teens. In fact, he details his inspiring story and his evidence-based investing methods in his new memoir-manifesto, Odds On: The Making of an Evidence-Based Investor.

Author: Ted Hicks

Ted Hicks is a dad, husband & son that enjoys writing about the wonderful world of parenting, technology, product reviews, education and sports. There are very few topics that won't be addressed with contributions to You can expect a witty exchange on the #LNPshow. Be prepared for an open and honest conversation – because that’s what you’re going to receive. is a resource site for parents looking for interesting blogs on various topics and articles. We provide our thoughts and giveaways for baby gear, electronics, sporting events & apparel. Follow us at @RealTedHicks / @LateNightParent or feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] Check us out at you ready for the #LNPshow? YOU sure?

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