Archie Growing Up: Learning about Money

No pics in this post, so I can leave open for general viewing.

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Archie, who will be six in September, is growing curious about money. Although most of the grownups in his life use credit cards for purchases, he sees me at the public market take out a $20 bill, buy fresh strawberries, and get bills and change in return. He has a wallet with a few dollar bills in it. He saw my change jar in a kitchen cabinet — I don’t like to keep much change in my wallet because it makes it heavier — and asked about the contents. I have a couple of Panamanian coins in there, which I gave him. Then I showed him how to count four quarters, or ten dimes, or twenty nickels, and explained that each adds up to a dollar. When we go to the drugstore and he asks to look at Lego sets, he now looks more closely at what each one costs.

He asked me if he could have not only the Panamanian balboas, but all the coins, and I gave them to him. Now he wants to go to the bank and change the coins for bills.

Jerry was great with our kids in teaching them about the value of money. When they were quite young — grade school, older than Archie — Jerry established a practice where they paid part of something they really wanted to buy, like a boom box. In the beginning, they contributed a few dollars and we paid the rest. As they got older, the portion they had to pay got larger. By middle school, they were buying their own clothes on a budget that we gave them, making choices between $75 Abercrombie cargo pants or $25 Sears cargo pants, or something in between. By high school, we got them credit cards — with my name on the card as well — so they could learn to use credit responsibly.

I hope we can do the same for the grandkids. Learning how to handle money matters.

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