Money and children

By on July 26, 2010


img_589_l.jpgIn a cost-of-living survey released in 2008 by the Economic Intelligence Unit, the Mercer Human Resource Consulting and ECA International; Tokyo, Japan ranks first as the most expensive city in East Asia and the fifth in the world.  Regardless of where we come from, most  families are affected by the global financial downturn.  For most of us raising children in Japan in a gloomy economic climate such as now, getting used to living with less is called for.


Parents often whine about how fast children blow their school allowance and how Dad needs to work doubly harder to support the children’s spending habits.  Some moms even need to take a job to augment the household income while caring for small children.  In the scenario that we are living today,  the children need to be aware of where money comes from and how much of  it parents can realistically afford to earn and part with and why.  When families experience an income cut which is now affecting most, so too do children’s allowances.  This also means some adjustment of moving to a less costly apartment, transferring children to another school that offers better terms, living without a household helper, travelling on vacation less, or deferring a house purchase until the children graduate from college.   When adjustments like these happen, small children are spared in the family discussion simply because they are too young to understand the more serious side of life … or are they really?


Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad said, "I realized the cause of so much suffering was due to a lack of financial education".  He admits that although he learned that getting an education will get him a secure job, it is not the path to being wealthy.  Parents can only teach their children what they know.  Some parents, however, become savvy with cash flow only after becoming an entrepreneur.


The ordinary kid knows that money pays for what he wants and Mom or Dad is there to buy it for him.  He also knows that Dad and Mom need to work to have money to buy him food and toys.  What a kid does not know are the pains parents go through in earning that money to put food on the table.  What happens when another market crash occurs and the money source dries up?  Raising solution-oriented children is today’s key to giving them a road map to financial independence. 


Concept of money 

Teaching children the concept of money, how it is earned, what is budgeting, why is saving important, what is a bank are all issues we know but is challenging for some without creative prowess to teach it to kids.  Let these fun books guide you.


Recommended reading

The Kids’ Money Book: Earning, Saving, Spending, 

Investing, Donating by Jamie Kyle McGillian

 Money buys things – that is something grown-ups and children can both agree on. However, children may only be familiar with the purchasing side of finances; but not the value of money or the importance of earning and saving that many adults still struggle with later in life.


According to Jamie Kyle McGillian, author of several fun and practical family books, it’s never too early to learn about finances. In the brightly-illustrated Kids’ Money Book, McGillian teaches children in-depth lessons on money, including a brush up on its history before it expands to topics like budgeting, saving, and spending wisely – though simple enough for children to easily follow, with a splash of the author’s humor and sense of fun.


After Kids’ Money Book teaches all the lessons it does, it encourages children to apply them practically with several worksheets and exercises to go through, such as recalling finance mistakes they’ve made in the past, and maintaining a journal to record their purchases and things they’d like to buy in the future.


It may also help children to hear from their peers, and this book includes words from other kids in the same boat, discussing how their lives are affected by money, and sharing their own money-related mishaps.  All in all, Kids’ Money Book is a helpful handbook.


Lunch Money by Andrew Clements

Sometimes, children learn best indirectly. Whether from other people’s experiences or fictional novels, some kids absorb ideas more effectively by being exposed to the consequences faced by others.


Andrew Clements is an author whose series of children’s fiction addressing basic real-life issues, however in the setting of an elementary school. His latest, Lunch Money, is no different, bringing to light vital money matters and introducing ideas on how to earn and manage them.


Lunch Money follows Greg Kenton, a sixth-grader with remarkable entrepreneurial skills, embark on his latest money-making venture by selling self-made comic books at school, which turns out to be a success. However, this catches the attention of his nemesis Maura, whose wrath prompts her to give Greg serious competition by releases her own line of comic books.


But the ultimate blow to Greg’s (and Maura’s) comic books is the principal’s banning of their sales at school, reasoning that he believes them to be violent and inappropriate. Greg and Maura then push their rivalry aside to stand up against the ban, fighting for their right to sell their comics.


Packed with humor, quirky characters, and fun illustrations, the sharp novel provides both entertaining and educational read.


Rich Dad Poor Dad for Teens by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Author Robert T. Kiyosaki knows a lot about investing and striking it rich. An investor, entrepreneur, and teacher, he has traveled the world and prompted countless people to reconsider their spending and saving habits; needless to say, he does have insider information on how rich people get – and moreover, stay – rich.  In Rich Dad, Poor Dad for Teens, the followup to the dad-centric New York Times best-seller Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Kiyosaki shares his money-savvy philosophies with teens by describing the differences between "poor dad", a pessimistic character accepting a fate of never succeeding, with "rich dad", one who places importance on finance.


But what sets this book apart from other money-focused teen guides is that Rich Dad helps young readers capitalize on their strengths. Through quizzes and  sidebar info, Kiyosaki enables teens to identify their individual virtues and learning styles to capitalize on them, for them to serve teens in their money ventures. And let’s face it, personal quizzes do make everything more fun!  Much of the knowledge a child acquires early at home and in school shapes up his belief about a concept.  Let’s all not forget that tomorrow is all about what we buy today!


Hana Takahashi-Stewart is a resident of Tokyo, mom of two and works as an accountant for a multinational company. All books are available from


About Hana Takahashi-Stewart