BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Adults likely hold the view that because they work, pay bills and provide for their kids, only they understand the value of money. There are a few ways, though, that kids have things to teach adults about saving and spending, and some of those lessons come naturally from the playing they do without any intention of learning.That's not to say the usual parental lessons have no value.
|Kids may be viewed as impulsive, but saving is actually part of a collector instinct. Piggy banks are more fun when they're heavy and rattle than when they're smashed open or drained from a rubber-stopped belly.|
- Kids may be viewed as impulsive, but saving is actually part of a collector instinct. Many get just as much a thrill at looking how many pennies and nickels they have amassed in that giant pickle jar as they do rolling all those jangling coins into "real" cash. That old standby, the piggy bank, is more fun when it grows heavy and rattles than when it is smashed open or drained from a rubber-stopped belly.
- Children, more often than not, save with a goal in mind. Adults may have intentions of doing the same, but prove to be easily sidetracked consumers.
- Youngsters also have a natural bent toward being entrepreneurial. If a new toy, video game or bike helmet is an object of their desire, they will concoct any number of schemes to raise needed capital -- from lemonade stands to raking leaves and shoveling snow.
- Fantasy baseball? It can teach Little Leaguers concepts of value (as they bid on players), risk/reward (as they gamble on a rookie pitcher) and managing a budget (keeping their team payroll below the agreed-upon salary cap).
- The classic board game Monopoly is a broad-stroke overview of bank accounts, interest, taxes, real estate and renting.
- In online and app-based games such as Farmville, World of Warcraft, Gaia Online and The Smurfs the currency may be virtual, but it is also tied to "jobs" and completing tasks. Using those online credits also reinforces budgeting skills (unless, of course, little hackers bypass the parental controls and start racking up an iTunes bill).
- Being surrounded by classmates of all different socioeconomic situations can give students a broader view of how money affects different families. The volunteering they do as part of scouting, at a charity or through church projects can have a similar effect.