As my kids have grown, I’ve tried to teach them important money concepts along the way. After all, the Council for Economic Education reported in its 2018 Survey of the States that only 16 states require any economics course work during K-12, and only seven states require students to take courses in personal finance. So, it’s up to us parents to fill the gap. Now that my kids are getting a bit older, I’d like them to start learning about investing. Here are some ideas on how to do this:
- Send them to an investing summer camp. Yes, they do exist. With names like Camp Millionaire, MoolahU, Financial Investors Club of America, WhizBizKids and Money 101, these camps are designed to teach a variety of important financial skills, including investing. While not every child would think this sounds like fun, it could be a good fit for certain children, or one of those things a concerned parent makes them do “for their own good”.
- Learn investing concepts. Have them learn about some of the publicly-traded companies whose products they like, such as Disney, Nike or Netflix. Either order the annual report or help them find it online and ask them to answer questions like “Who’s the CEO?” or “How much did the company make in revenue last year?” Ask them to try and stump you with words from a financial magazine or newspaper. Give them a list of financial words to look up and offer 25 cents for each one memorized.
- Learn by doing. While stock market games are all the rage and it might be tempting to let your kids invest in individual stocks of companies they know, this sends the message that with a little bit of research, they can pick winners. In reality, it is very hard to beat the market over time and investing in individual stocks is very risky, so if you want to teach them how to invest wisely, talk to them about diversification and index funds and have them choose a broadly diversified index fund to invest in. You can show them how to look up the individual holdings of the mutual fund so they can see if they recognize any of the companies in it.
With a bit of intention and planning, it’s possible to start teaching children some important investing concepts and set them up for success later in life as wise investors.