Between classes, extracurriculars, social woes and other pubescent drama, middle schoolers don’t always have it easy. Few people look back on their junior high years fondly, but there’s so much knowledge to be gained during the tween years!
It’s when your child will start to grasp at the kind of person they want to be. They’re building their character, and you have an opportunity to sprinkle vital financial wisdom into their foundation.
By the end of elementary school, students are typically equipped with the fundamentals— they’ve mastered the math skills needed to calculate expenses and create a budget, and they’ve most likely learned the basics of saving and spending responsibly. Now, they’ve got some of the independence to finally put some of those lessons into action.
As they get into their tween years, kids will want to go on more adventures on their own. Lots of them could get expensive— like visiting the mall with friends. This provides an excellent opportunity for them to learn how to stick to a budget in real-time.
One fun activity for the home or the classroom: help your middle schooler with a do-it-yourself Game of Life! They can choose their hypothetical dream job, with a home and a car. They can also plan out monthly expenses and calculate whether they have the funds needed to make ends meet. They can then figure out how much they would spend for the down payment and then how much they’d continue to pay each month to pay back their loan. Older middle schoolers aged 13-14 can calculate compounding interest.
This is also a great age to have some fun learning business basics! Though there’s some controversy about whether or not parents should pay their children for completing chores, middle schoolers have an opportunity to complete more complex household tasks and continue to learn the connection between money and hard work. Though this sounds like a no-brainer to us, some younger kids have trouble grasping the value of money in this increasingly digital world. With more independence, they also have more opportunities to earn money outside your home, like dog walking or babysitting gigs.
They can also learn a little bit about investing at this age. Your middle schooler doesn’t need to learn the intricacies of collateralized debt obligations, but they can definitely comprehend the idea that investing a little money now can turn into more money later. Test their delayed gratification skills! Your daughter can can blow her whole allowance at the mall this weekend, or she can start saving up for the car she’s going to want a few years down the line.
Everyone’s relationship with money starts in childhood. Generally, our parents pass their habits down to us— the good, the bad and the ugly!
You are the biggest example your kids have to follow, and your behavior has a big impact on how they will use and think about personal finance in their adulthood.
Though many of these skills won’t be used to the fullest until several years later, middle school is a great time to continue building the mindset for financial freedom, preparing them to make more serious purchases in the future. Instilling good habits in the beginning will make your child’s life much easier later on.
Jassby is a free mobile payments system for the whole family. With our iOS and web app, parents can safely give their teens money for rewards, accomplishments, gifts and more; teens can learn money management by saving or shopping from an parent-approved list of online vendors. When it comes to money matters, Jassby is part of the family!