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.