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Teaching Kids Lessons Beyond Dollars and Cents


To say that money matters have been getting a lot of attention as of late is an understatement. It's hard to turn on the television, read a newspaper or surf the Web without the topic coming up in one form or another. While many of us have grown used to the constant chatter, it might not be the case for children.

Given the economic crisis, now, more than ever, it's important to teach the children in your life about the basics of money management. And to take it a step further.

Kids today learn about money the same way most adults did -- by watching and listening to those closest to them. While getting a weekly or monthly allowance and saving for the "must-have" toy are certainly important life lessons, there is another element that is much easier for adults to overlook. Sharing and giving back.

"Saving, spending, and sharing can be the cornerstones of a financial education foundation that can last a lifetime for kids, " says Laura Dierke, financial education program manager with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a faith-based financial services organization. "Most of us have a pretty good handle on how to teach the basics of saving and spending. But lessons on sharing aren't always as easy."

This April 24, during Financial Literacy Month, parents have the opportunity to take a first step in teaching this lesson during the first-ever national Teach Your Kids to Share Day. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans established the event to bring parents and kids together to learn about spending, saving and sharing not only their money, but also their time and talents. More than 50 cities across the United States will be hosting a Teach Your Kids to Share Day event filled with fun and interactive workshops.

Spending, saving and sharing may be simple concepts, but making intentional decisions about these three S's is an important part about helping children develop healthy money habits.

Here are three ways you can use to start the lesson at home:
* Discuss with your child how you spend, save and share your money. For example: explain how you spend money on groceries and the home; how you save money by depositing money in the bank; and how you share money by supporting your place of worship or a charitable cause.

* Ask your child to write down how they want to spend their money, what they want to save their money for and how they want to share.

* Work together on establishing a guideline on how they'll manage their money. For example -- if you set "share 10 percent, save 10 percent and spend 80 percent" as a guideline, the next time your child gets $20 as a birthday gift, the child should divide the money to meet the guideline.

Most importantly, make sharing an ongoing conversation. Talking with your child is one of the best ways to build a financial foundation for the whole family.

Amidst today's turbulence is a silver lining. While many of us re-evaluate our attitudes toward our financial choices, we have an opportunity to take a step back to make sure we are passing on important lessons beyond dollars and cents to the next generation.

To learn more about Teach Your Kids to Share Day or register for an event in your area, go to www.thrivent.com/shareday.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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