Financial Literacy Month 2015: The 3-Way Piggy Bank for the Youngest Ones
by Keith Klein
Financial literacy has been a hot topic for me in my career as a Financial Advisor, and in my life as a father.
Given my profession, I am always on the lookout for any assignments that pertain to money in my sons’ homework folders. For the most part, I have been disappointed with the financial lessons, or should I say, lack of financial lessons taught in schools. I believe that schools start financial literacy far too late, and dedicate far too little time to this important topic. We see many young adults struggling with debt, lacking the skills to manage their finances, or, unable to make the leap into adulthood by supporting themselves and moving out of their parent’s home.
It is, of course, ultimately our job as parents, to ensure that our children have the financial know-how to make sound decisions as adults.
When my sons were very little, we introduced the concept of the 3-way piggy bank. This concept afforded us the opportunity to begin teaching our sons about money, in a way that made sense and would stick with them through the years. The 3-way piggy bank (or jar, box, etc.) represents three categories of financial management, saving, spending and giving. While little fingers dropped in their coins, we shared with them the lessons about the relative value of the coins, as well as the concept of splitting the money into 3 slots or jars for the purpose of:
- Saving, for a rainy day, or for an opportunity down the road.
- Spending, to support our daily needs, or, as was the case with my sons, perhaps to be able to buy the latest and greatest toy.
- Giving, to those who are less fortunate that we are.
These simple and yet profoundly impactful lessons are just a single step in the many ways that as parents we can help to prepare our children to be financially wise into the future.