Chances are there was a lot you did­n’t know about finances when you reached adult­hood.  Your acci­den­tal igno­rance may have cost you mon­ey in the form of an over­drawn check­ing account where the bank glee­ful­ly heaped on addi­tion­al fees, or cred­it card debt at inter­est rates that would have qual­i­fied as crim­i­nal usury in the Mid­dle Ages.  You may have overex­tend­ed your­self when buy­ing a car, been mys­ti­fied by the APR on your home mort­gage, or you may be one of those unfor­tu­nate peo­ple who ran into a finan­cial preda­tor who sells high-com­mis­sion invest­ments, annu­ities or unnec­es­sary life insur­ance coverage. 

You don’t want your chil­dren to learn these lessons the hard way.  What can you do to help them mas­ter the com­plex­i­ties of this mys­te­ri­ous thing we call “mon­ey?”

The bad news is that you’ll have to home-school this cur­ricu­lum, since pri­ma­ry and sec­ondary schools inex­plic­a­bly don’t teach basic mon­ey skills, and the only way your chil­dren will be taught about mon­ey in col­lege is if they decide to take finan­cial plan­ning cours­es that are taught at a frac­tion of all the col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties in the U.S.  

Just like any oth­er sub­ject, a mon­ey cur­ricu­lum pro­vides infor­ma­tion and teach­ing that is appro­pri­ate to the age.  You’re not going to be able to teach a sev­en-year-old about grad­u­at­ed income tax rates or the won­ders of com­pound inter­est, and she’ll have no idea what you mean if you tell her that your home cost $200,000.  So con­sid­er this as an age-appro­pri­ate guide­line for devel­op­ing mon­ey mas­tery in your children.

Some experts say that your child’s finan­cial edu­ca­tion should begin as soon as he or she is old enough not to eat the mon­ey.  But mon­ey is fun­da­men­tal­ly about math­e­mat­ics; when your chil­dren can add and sub­tract, they can start the mon­ey learn­ing process. Con­tin­ue Reading.