I usually scroll through some daily finance related blogs (mainly the ones listed on the right side of this page) and I read one recent post over at No Credit Needed that I wanted to comment on.
He mentioned how when he was growing up his parents really didn't discuss money issues with him. He ran into some debt but has done a great job working his way out of debt and is now on to his savings goals.
His post reminded me about how important it is to teach children about money. Why is it such a guarded topic? My parents were pretty open with me about money issues and this is how I learned about credit cards, how to buy a house, loans, etc. It seems too many parents are potentially setting up their kids for a fall when they grow up by not teaching them any money basics, the pitfalls of debt, and the importance of savings. Our savings rate is near 0% (or possibly negative) and I think it's up to today's parents to help reverse these figures by teaching their kids.
A 10 year can grasp some of the simple concepts of savings and credit cards. It's important to teach them that credit cards are not "free money" (I've heard many kids use this phrase) and how important it is to save for the future.
I'm still a very young guy, but if/when (!) I have kids here are some of the things I would do:
* Start them off early because money concepts can be said in a simple way.
* Have them set their own savings goals. I do it for myself, so why can't kids? I would probably come up with some sort of game and have a savings goal that is somewhat easy to attain to not discourage them if they don't make their goal.
* Give them an allowance, but require them to save a bit and talk to them about how to spend their money
* Once they reach high school, I would encourage a part-time job (10 hours) just so they could experience working for their own paycheck
I'm sure to come up with more, but these are just the ones I thought of right now.
I just think that if parents spent some time teaching their kids at a young age, then they will have fewer financial problems when they grow up. They won't have to go through some of the mistakes their parents made.
Stockdiva posted a few links to some stock picking constests (here and here)