I feel very strongly about the importance of talking with our kids about money, both as a parent and a teacher.
From a very young age our girls have had save/spend/share piggybanks for them to divvy up any small amounts of money they receive, and it really helped to start the conversations early.
When they were 7 and 5 we took them to set up their own bank accounts with debit cards - which I will admit I still hang on to for now! I love seeing them deposit money, but to tell you the truth I also love to see them spend it wisely – for example, both girls saved up to buy iPod Touches, and they definitely have gotten their money’s worth out of them, learning a lesson about worthwhile investments.
Now at 10 and 7 they have also started buying their own books and accessories, and it gives me pleasure to see them doing mental math, estimating how much they will have left, and counting out their cash…or not. Often they make an informed decision not to make a purchase, which is amazing too.
I was very proud last summer when they decided to set up a cold drinks stand to earn some more spending money. Even after paying us back for the startup costs (aren’t we mean parents? Hey, it’s business!) they still made a nice little profit, and decided to give half of it to our local hospital – another proud mama moment.
Eva actually wrote her public speech this year on “Tips for Running a Successful Business”, based on their summer experience – and won two gold medals and a silver in competitions! (I don’t think people expected that topic coming from a 7 year old girl!)
To help start conversations and teach kids some important financial literacy, BMO Financial Group helped launch the Talk With Our Kids About Money (TWOKAM) program with the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE) in 2013, making this BMO’s 4th year of partnership. BMO’s Talk With Our Kids About Money Day is taking place on April 20, 2016.
Talk With Our Kids About Money, powered by BMO in partnership with CFEE, has tools and resources for parents to help build money conversations into their day-to-day interactions with their kids (from age 5 right through the teen years), and is a free program accessible to families of any income. Some of the activities even involve watching and discussing popular movies – now there’s a way to hook your kids!
While the resources for home are fantastic, there’s also a great school program as well, with curriculum links for the different grades and provinces and ready-made lesson plans which include student activities. (This isn’t just for math teachers – there are lessons linked to music, drama, art, science, geography and more!)
As parents, we don’t want to end up in a position where we are bailing our children out – or taking the tough love approach and not doing so – because of serious financial circumstances. Of course they’ll make mistakes with money (as we all do) but knowledge is power and I want to see my daughters and students with the information they need not only to make money, but to make their money work for them.
Financial literacy isn’t just for kids, of course: BMO believes it should be a year-round focus for all Canadians. That is why, beyond their partnership with TWOKAM, BMO launched YourFinancialLife.com which provides Canadians with financial tips for life events. They have a dedicated page for tips and tools on how to talk with your kids about money and prepare for your child’s financial future (https://yourfinanciallife.bmo.com).
I dream of seeing my girls grow up to become independent, fulfilled, healthy women – and that certainly includes financial health as well. I appreciate the fact that BMO is helping us to do that.
Join the conversation using the hashtag #TWOKAM and make sure to follow BMO on Twitter (@BMO) and on Facebook (/BMOCommunity).
Disclosure: This post was generously sponsored by BMO. Opinions are, as always, my own.