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How to Talk to Kids About Money

Published April 17, 2024

Picture this: your child asks about money, and you respond with a smile, not a sigh. Discussing money with kids can be challenging, often because of your own financial insecurities and it is hard to know the right age-appropriate message. However, these important conversations should not be avoided! According to the Michigan Credit Union Foundation, 57 percent of parents regret not teaching their children the fundamentals of money.

Celebrate Credit Union Youth Month by equipping your mini-me with the essential tools to begin their financial journey. From young children to teens, here are tips and interactive resources to help you discuss money.

How to Approach Conversations About Financial Choices with Children

Having conversations about money with kids doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, it can be a fun and educational experience for you both! Here are eight tips to help you approach these conversations with ease:

  1. Start Early: Money habits are established by age 7. Begin talking about money when your children are young to help them understand its importance.
  2. Practice Smart Spending & Use Everyday Examples: Point out money concepts in your day-to-day life, like when you are at the grocery store or paying a bill. Discuss ways to make smart spending choices, like comparing prices and searching for deals.
  3. Make it Relatable: Discuss financial choices in terms of things your child cares about, such as saving for a video game or vacation.
  4. Set a Good Example: Show responsible money habits yourself as kids learn by example. Need help? Check out our Simply Better Blogs on eliminating debt and setting up an emergency fund.
  5. Teach Budgeting & Savings: Help them create a simple budget for their allowance or money they receive. Talk about the importance of saving for both short-term and long-term goals. This money can be deposited in a youth savings account, which can lead to additional rewards.
  6. Introduce the Concept of Needs vs. Wants: Teach them to differentiate between things they need and things they want.
  7. Encourage Questions: Be open to answering any questions they might have about money.
  8. Make it a Continuous Conversation: Keep the dialogue open and ongoing, adjusting as they grow, and as their understanding of money evolves.

If you are having trouble finding the right words to say regarding a money topic, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has you covered. Click here to find guides on how to adapt the conversation to where your child is developmentally.

Young girl with red hair and glasses reads book on table.

Interactive Ways to Teach Kids & Teens About Finances


WMCU proudly partners with Zogo, a gamified financial literacy app offering 300+ action-based modules suitable for any age. By completing learning modules, trivia, and leveling up, kids and teens earn points for real rewards, such as $5, $10, and $15 gift cards. Here are a few module topics to start with:

Young Children & Pre-Teens
  • Shop Smartly
  • Save Money
  • Open a Bank Account
  • Budgeting
Young Adults
  • Succeed at College
  • Buying a Car
  • Get a Job
  • Ace a Job Interview
  • Create a Resume & Cover Letter

Start playing Zogo today by downloading the free app and using our unique access code “WMCU” to start learning and earning.

Grandma teaching her younger grand-daughter about finances by pointing to a book.

Money Adventure Map

The Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates has designed an interactive educational game. Follow along the guided map, scan the QR codes at each destination to watch educational videos, and follow along on the coinciding worksheet to track key money tips and save the information for later.

This learning approach helps children learn about financial concepts with parental guidance in a fun and engaging way. Combining technology with hands-on activity encourages active participation and knowledge retention. The interactive experience covers topics like interest, credit scores, savings, budgeting, needs vs. wants, inflation, and more.

West Michigan Credit Union Youth Savings Account: Join Critter Club

Our Youth Savings, Critter Club, is a great way to teach children valuable lessons about money early. Children aged 5 to 12 can start making deposits with a guardian and can win prizes!

Understanding the impact of financial education on future savings is crucial. Around 40 percent of people who did not discuss money growing up have $0 in savings today. Make the choice to spread the knowledge of money with your children and grandchildren today, setting them up for simply better financial future.


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