Kids and Money

Making Better Money Decisions

Finance—as in Wall Street, stocks and bonds, and Roth IRAs—is a complicated subject, but that doesn’t mean your personal finances have to be. There are three major ways (people, places, and priorities) that can help you and your child learn more about making better money choices.

1. People can help you and your child learn more about making better money decisions. The more caring, knowledgeable adults in your child’s life, the more likely your child is to ask important questions, seek advice, and ultimately learn what it means to be responsible. You can learn from others, as well, whether that means you ask a neighbor about the advantages of a credit union or you enroll in a financial literacy course through your bank or community center.

2. Places can help you and your child learn more about wise money choices. Consider, for example, your child’s school. If you volunteer there, you will be more connected to your child’s school and its resources, giving you a place to go for information and advice. Your community center, place of worship, and your workplace may also be rich with resources and caring individuals.

3. Priorities can help you and your child learn more about saving, spending money wisely, and giving in ways that are meaningful for your family. Making the right money choices is all about prioritizing, and it’s not always as simple as putting the bills first. Honing your decision making and planning skills, especially with the help of a friend, family member, or financial expert, can help you identify and set priorities.


1. Lewis Mandell, The Financial Literacy of Young American Adults, an Analysis of the Jump$tart Coalition’s 2008 Biennial Survey (2009),

2. Peter Scales, Peter Benson, and Eugene Roehlkepartain, Grading Grown-Ups: American Adults Report on Their Real Relationships with Kids (Minneapolis: Search Institute, 2001).

3. Lewis Mandell, ibid.

4. Developmental Assets: A Profile of Your Youth (Minneapolis, MN: Search Institute, 2005), 2003 weighted aggregate dataset, unpublished report.