What should we teach kids about money?

This exercise is intended to provide a fun, engaging, interactive session to help teach kids about money.

Not just about how to make a lot of money, but how to have a healthy relationship with money.

In our society, there is a spectrum of extremes in our relationships with money: from getting into a pile of consumer debt; to hoarding every last dime; to chasing money at the peril of our relationships, our integrity and even our own happiness.

What is Money, anyway? It is a man made concept. It doesn’t grow on trees and you won’t find money on the periodic table of elements. (What would that look like anyway: Mo?) It is called currency after the word ‘current’, meaning ‘to flow’. At this point, each kid is given a wad of cash: two (2) five dollar bills and ten (10) one dollar bills

What if you can’t buy back timeThis is a hard concept for kids, because they know they have their whole life ahead of them. The kids are taught that the wage on your paycheck is not your true hourly wage and they are walked through the process of deducting taxes, commuting time and job related costs to figure out a true hourly wage. So, the next time they go buy something, they should consider how much time they will have to spend away from their favorite people and activities to pay it off. And, determine if the loss of their time is worth the value of the product and the long term ‘costs’.

Would you like to make $1,000 per hour? This discussion includes entrepreneurship, residual income, real estate investing, side hustles, and the idea of working toward the goal to stop trading an hour of time for an hour of pay. The concept of building residual income to cover basic expenses is the financial freedom break even point. They are given an activity to think of ways to turn $20 into $40, in just one week.

Would you rather buy the Air Jordan shoes or the Nike stock? This is a discussion about net worth, assets, liability, depreciation, appreciation, ROI and compound interest. Activities included calculations using standard big purchases like homes and cars and comparing it to rental homes, stocks and other investments, while factoring in risk assessments. Most kids here know about the net worth of celebrities, from the tabloids, but rarely from their parents or neighbors.

What are your dreams? It was emphasized to never give up on dreams, passion and purpose. Most successful people have setbacks often before meeting their big goals. Don’t let anyone tell you that your dreams are dumb. They are each given another dollar bill to make ‘money art’. They are to draw and write anything that inspires them and they are to place this inspiration somewhere where they will see it everyday.


People over profit. No exceptions. Lastly, we talked about giving back and how fulfilling it can be. Most people will be more successful if they have a greater purpose than just making more money. Love, community and social connection is as much of a human need as food, water and shelter. Money won’t hug you when you need it. Money is to be respected, people are to be loved. They are given an activity to come up with business ideas for making money, while making meaning.


So, what would you teach kids about money? Please leave ideas and/or links below.


10 thoughts on “What should we teach kids about money?

  1. Such a great idea! I’m in the process of looking to schedule a similar class for teenagers in my local area. I think it’s important to speak to them about money topics they are interested in and work the basic personal finance principals into it.


  2. This is so great!!! I remember that you had mentioned this a couple of months ago and to see it in action is awesome!!! I can’t wait to read more updates on this and I’ll definitely check out the rockstar forum!!!


  3. This was an incredible idea and so good of you to try to connect with even one student. You talked about the real things that matter and tried to connect in terms they would understand. Making things relatable and in terms that make sense to them is how the content sticks. I try to teach my ids as much as possible on saving, spending and smart choices. I hope we both make a difference


  4. Pingback: Top Financial Independence Articcless From Around the Web 2/7/17 | Excess Cash

  5. I love this.
    My family member set up a mock bank in a high school and the kids could actually work there. He said it helped them understand the transactional side of things but there wasn’t any foundational education like this program would provide.
    These type of workshops would be great in a community library or youth group.

    Tom @ HIP


  6. “What would that look like anyway: Mo?”

    This actually made me laugh!

    Anyway, I am happy to see that you stressed the importance of people over profit. We must remember that money is tool to help us reach our goals, not a goal in of itself. I believe there is a quote from the Minimalists that goes something like, “Love people, and use money. Because the opposite almost never works out.”

    Thank you for writing such a practical, yet inspiring post!


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