Maybe your teen has started to earn money - babysitting, lawn mowing, pet sitting - so it's time to make sure they know how to handle money and their finances. Most kids only learn about money at home, so give them some help by visiting some of these great Kansas City places.
Great Fiction Books
Sometimes the best way to introduce a tough subject is through an interesting book or story. Teens will enjoy these books that higlight other teens who are experiencing money issues.
In "Lawn Boy" by Gary Paulsen, the narrator (who calls himself 'Lawn Boy') receives a lawnmower from his grandmother for his birthday. Needing to earn money, he turns the gift into an amazing summer business - with some ups and downs along the way. The story includes lessons on how a free-market economy works, along with the problems that come with summer employment and running a fast-growing business. Tons of humor throughout.
In "The Year Money Grew on Trees" by Aaron Hawkins, Jackson enters into a business agreement with his neighborhood and takes over management of a neglected apple orchard to make some good money. Great insight into the work ethic that's needed to earn money, along with lessons about legal agreements, how some things are out of our control and the personal investment needed to reap a profit.
A combination environmental/family business/beauty read, "My Life in Pink and Green" by Lisa Greenwald shows the value of kids being involved in a family business. Lucy knows that her family's pharmacy isn't doing too well, so she comes up with an idea to save the business, and her family's financial future. Age-appropriate business tips are woven throughout, along with good presentation of the dedication needed to see an idea through to the end.
One of the best ways to teach teens about money is making sure they have some hands-on experiences with it. Integrate some of the following opportunities into your son or daughter's life:
- Get them a bank account (savings first, then checking before they leave for college or to live on their own) and teach them how to make deposits, write checks and read & balance their bank statements.
- Have them write out a budget so they understand how they use money. Start with school expenses and construct a monthly list of these items. Decide on the amount of money that can be spent and allow them to make choices as to what they purchase. Will they spend it all on those new sneakers? Or will they find a less expensive pair so that they can still purchase jeans and other clothing. Talk to them about discounts, sales and coupons as a way to stretch their 'purchasing power'.
- Help them find a summer job - babysitting, lawn mowing, umpire sports, etc - so they begin to understand what 'work' is, how they get paid and how economics work in our country.
- Try having some fun as you learn about setting goals and earning rewards at Disney's "Piggy Bank Adventure" game.
- The U.S. Mint has a great website for teens that talks about earning money, saving, spending, investing, understanding a paycheck - tons of great information!
Explore Money in KC
The Money Museum
One of the few in the country, Kansas City has it's own Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank. Teens will enjoy taking a self-guided tour that includes hands-on exhibits and highlights the history of money and our economic system. Some areas of the museum include:
- Watch sn operating bank vault,
- Learn what happens to old money,
- Try to tell the difference between real money and counterfiet,
- See if you can lift a gold bar,
- Find out what $30 million dollars looks like up close!
Before you go, see the Visitor's page for hours and information - admission is free.