Dear Mr. Suffrin: I want my kids to be financially responsible. I really think that personal-finance classes should begin early on in their educational career.
At what age do you think it is appropriate for children to start learning the ins and outs of money? And what type of material would make a good starter class? - Learning in Boutte
Dear Learning: You can start teaching your kids about financial responsibility as early as age 3, and you don't need printed material.
Take your child to the market and explain that you earn money so that you can buy things you need.
Give your child a small amount of money and let her buy something on their own.
Begin giving your child a small weekly allowance when he is 6 or 7 years old, and set guidelines about how they can use the money.
Pick a date, such as a birthday, on which to give your child an annual raise. Increase their responsibilities as you increase her allowance.
Start talking about long-term goals, such as saving for college or a car, when your child is 13 or 14.
Encourage her to earn extra money by doing things like mowing the neighbor's lawn.
Consider opening a bank account in your child's name as an aid to saving and spending her earnings.
Student and parent questions about finances answered - only in the St. Charles Herald-Guide. Financial expert and school board member Al Suffrin can help you make good decisions about your money. Send YOUR questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org