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How to Build Strong Financial Literacy for Kids: A Step-by-Step Guide | Mari Collins Harris

How to Build a Strong Financial Foundation for Your Kids: A Step-by-Step Guide header
From Candy Bars to Investing: Inspiring Financial Decision-Making in Kids

Ready to create a structured financial management system for your kids? We have Mari Collins Harris with us to show you how. A parent herself, Mari understands the challenges and importance of teaching children about finances. She's turned her personal experiences into a practical solution with her app, Catch Shop. Through her journey, Mari has discovered innovative ways to make financial education a part of everyday life for her kids. In our discussion, she will share these valuable insights, offering you a detailed guide on how to do the same. So, let’s dive in and learn from Mari's experiences and strategies.

Financial Literacy for Kids is crucial because it is a life long skill that is often overlooked.

My special guest is Mari Collins Harris

Introducing Mari Collins Harris, a dynamic parent who emphasizes the importance of teaching children about financial literacy and life skills from a young age. Mari's unique strategy focuses on lessons discovered in everyday experiences, how saving for a much larger goal can outweigh spontaneous purchases. Mari’s approach to immersing children in tasks relating to money management and decision-making routinely ensures her children's journey towards financial literacy and entrepreneurial acumen is a fun ride, rather than tedious learning.

There's a saying that money talks, but how many of us are actually fluent? Teaching your children the language of money early on is crucial for their overall growth and development. This blog provides a comprehensive guide on creating a structured financial management system for your kids. It balances the serious aspect of financial literacy with a friendly approach, making learning enjoyable yet insightful. From defining financial goals to the importance of generosity, every aspect is covered. So, strap in for a journey that is set to transform your kids' perspective on managing finances and decision-making.

Here are the key steps:

· Identify Your Child's Financial Interests: Observe your child's behavior and identify the things that genuinely interest them. Use these interests as a springboard for discussing money and finances.

· Create a Safe Space for Learning: Introduce financial management tools like the Ketshop app, which provides a controlled environment for children to explore and make decisions about money.

· Define Financial Goals and Priorities: Encourage your child to set savings goals for things they want to buy, stressing the importance of prioritization in managing finances.

· Foster the Spirit of Giving: Teach your child the value of generosity by showing them how to donate to charities or causes they care about.

· Use Real-life Examples: Use everyday situations to teach children about Financial decisions

1. Identify Your Child's Financial Interests: Observe your child's behavior and identify the things that genuinely interest them. Use these interests as a springboard for discussing money and finances.

Introducing children to financial literacy and life skills is a critical aspect of their growth and development. It shapes their understanding of value, savings, spending and responsibility. One way to facilitate this learning process is through identifying your child's area of financial interest. This approach allows parents and guardians to tap into their child's natural inclinations and use them as tools for teaching important financial principles. The founder of Catch Shop, Mari Collins Harris, is a strong advocate for this approach. During her time on the Fallible Man Podcast with Brent Dowlen, she discussed how she applied this technique with her own kids using her app, Ketshop. Mari's system revolves around children creating virtual shops based on their interests. In this process, the child learns about saving, goal-setting, and prioritizing spending. This approach, while educational, is also engaging because it is rooted in something the child is genuinely interested in. This approach to teaching financial management is important for our audience because it merges education with fun, increasing the likelihood of the lessons making a lasting impact. Children respond better to teachings that involve an aspect of fun or interest. Therefore, identifying and incorporating their financial interests into their learning process enhances their understanding and facilitates the development of life-long financial management skills. Parents also get to learn more about their children's passions, creating an opportunity for strengthened communication and deeper bonding.

A picture of our guest and her family
Harris Family Fun

Many parents cherish the desire to raise well-rounded children who will be capable of navigating life's complexities with confidence and ease. Instilling financial literacy is a key aspect of this education that often gets sidelined. Thankfully, there are resources designed to remedy this shortage. Among those is a savvy tool for parents, looking to teach their children important life skills about money management and prioritization. It acts as an engaging, digital platform that helps children understand the value of money and fosters essential skills like saving, spending, and giving back. This tool motivates children to actively partake in practical scenarios where they can take control of their decisions, learn about responsibility, and build a foundation of financial literacy from a young age. The tool in question is an app called Ketshop, and it is the brainchild of Mari Collins Harris. On the Fallible Man Podcast, Mari shared her unique insights about the app and its benefits. Mari's own parenting journey led her to develop Ketshop as a structured environment where children can learn about finances hands-on. The app gives children the autonomy to make fiscal decisions, while still being under a parental safety net. One standout feature of this app is its approach to donation and charity. Parents can use the platform to introduce causes and organizations to their children, fostering the qualities of empathy and generosity. Mari believes these experiences can significantly influence children's understanding of money as a means of giving back to the community, rather than merely a medium for materialistic gain. Mari's solution is vital because financial literacy is not merely about understanding currency and transactions. It's also about understanding the value of hard work, time, and commitment, required to earn that money. By giving children control over their virtual shop in Ketshop, parents enable their children to make educated financial decisions, which include exciting things like saving for a meaningful purchase or identifying worthy causes to donate. This hands-on approach to teaching kids about money is practical and enjoyable for the children. It enhances their comprehension of how their actions can lead to immediate or future rewards. So, to ensure bright futures for our children, let’s make it a priority to equip them with the skill sets they will need to make informed financial decisions. Today's tech-savvy kids can greatly benefit from early exposure to finance management through platforms that align with their interests and comprehension.

2. Create a Safe Space for Learning: Introduce financial management tools like the Ketshop app, which provides a controlled environment for children to explore and make decisions about money.

Financial education is a crucial life skill that many children aren't given the opportunity to learn at a young age. The earlier the understanding of money management is introduced, the better prepared children will be to navigate through the complexities of financial life in adulthood. However, teaching children the value of money and how to manage it can be a daunting task, especially trying to strike a balance between giving them autonomy and maintaining parental control. One way of overcoming this challenge and further ensuring that children are learning safely yet practically is to adopt tools like the Ketshop app, which provides a controlled and exciting environment for children to explore financial decisions. Our guest, Mari Collins Harris, creator of the Ketshop app, places a strong emphasis on making the journey of financial learning a fun and engaging one for the children. When her own son expressed the desire for an RC car, she used this opportunity to introduce the concept of earning and saving to achieve a particular goal. This simple yet impactful experience sparked the idea for Ketshop. An application designed to make finance relatable and understandable to children. One standout feature of this app is the virtual shop where kids can learn to prioritize their spendings, choose what to save for, and make financial decisions autonomously. Yet, it also provides parents the control to set boundaries, contribute to their kid’s shop, and guide the child's choices. To add to this, the app offers an option to donate, teaching them the significant value of giving back to society. Incorporating a tool like Ketshop into your children's daily routine is essential because it prepares them for the real world by making finance less intimidating and more approachable. Through fostering financial literacy from an early age, parents can help their children understand the implications of impulse purchasing, prioritizing needs over wants, and the power of saving. This safe space for learning created by Ketshop bridges the gap between catering to children's demands and nurturing essential life skills. It ensures children have room for growth and making mistakes without severe consequences, equipping them with the skills needed to make informed decisions about money from a young age. Consequently, children who are proficient in money management grow up to become financially responsible adults. When we teach children about money, we are not only teaching them about numbers or transactions, but we are also teaching them values, practical decision-making, and prioritization skills that will empower them in the future.

3. Define Financial Goals and Priorities: Encourage your child to set savings goals for things they want to buy, stressing the importance of prioritization in managing finances.

Imagine a garden that you watered daily, pulling out weeds and shielding it from pests, spending time and effort to nurture its growth. Eventually, you'd reap the benefits when you begin to enjoy its beauty and bounty. Teaching children about the importance of financial priorities and setting financial goals can be likened to the consistent nurturing of a garden. It is an ongoing process that requires patience, guidance, and consistency. But once the roots of financial awareness and the ability to prioritize are embedded and start to grow, children, like fruitful gardens, will begin to yield tremendous benefits. By understanding the true value of money, and the need to prioritize their wants, kids can make informed decisions about their expenditures that lead to achieving their financial goals. During her participation in The Fallible Man Podcast, Mari Collins Harris revealed an interesting approach to instilling financial responsibility in children through her app, Ketshop. To make financial management both accessible and engaging, the app enables children to create their virtual shops, helping them to prioritize saving towards their goals. When her son wished for an RC car, Mari gave him responsibilities to earn money and save enough for it, thereby teaching him the significance of financial diligence and goal-setting in a practical, hands-on manner. This idea was further extended within the app, where children were also encouraged to display empathy and generosity by donating to nonprofits or their causes. Prioritizing expenses and setting clear financial goals are not just about the now. It's about planting the seeds of financial freedom for your children's future. This habit teaches them the value of money and how it can work towards fulfilling their dreams and aspirations. With a clear understanding of their financial objectives, children can make prudent decisions about their expenditures, highlighting the importance of making short-term sacrifices for long-term benefits. This perspective paves the way for financial stability and independence in their adult lives. Through these lessons, we're not just raising money-saving kids; we're raising adults who will make wise financial decisions. It's like equipping them with an internal compass guiding their financial decisions, no matter the various twists and turns they would encounter in their financial journey.

A picture of our guest Mari Collins Harris with 2 of our kids
Mari and 2 of her kids

4. Foster the Spirit of Giving: Teach your child the value of generosity by showing them how to donate to charities or causes they care about.

Providing a well-rounded financial education for youngsters includes more than just lessons in saving and spending. An often overlooked, but crucial, aspect of discussions about money involves cultivating the spirit of giving. Integrating this lesson in daily life, showing children the power of generosity and the impact it can have, helps to build empathy and a more holistic understanding of financial management. The act of giving also helps children to learn about philanthropy, community service, and the broader social issues these can address. This comprehensive approach to financial education encourages well-rounded growth, promoting understanding that money is not just about personal gain but also about contributing to the betterment of society. In her insightful discussion with Brent Dowlen, guest Mari Collins Harris shared her own experience of how she incorporates these lessons in her home. Harris has designed the Ketshop app not just as a tool for children to manage their savings or expenses, but also as a platform to cultivate charitable habits. With the application's feature allowing donations to established non-profits, children get the chance to actively participate in supporting causes they are passionate about. What is especially heartening for Harris is seeing her children use the app to make small donations to organizations they care about, instilling the habit and joy of giving at a young age. The importance of fostering a spirit of giving cannot be overstated, especially in the current milieu where youngsters are inundated with materialistic values. Encouraging children to support charities or causes they care about helps develop a sense of responsibility and empathy. Moreover, it provides perspective about the value and utility of money, highlighting the moral and social dimensions of financial decisions. The spirit of giving is a lesson that transcends mere financial education, pushing children to examine their role in society. In giving, they realize that often, the best returns on investment are those that money can’t buy – personal satisfaction, fulfillment, and knowing you’ve made a difference.

5. Use Real-life Examples: Use everyday situations to teach children about Financial decisions

Discussing financial literacy with children is like walking on tightrope. While you want to equip them with the necessary tools to navigate the world of money, the last thing you want is to overwhelm or discourage them by over-complicating the subject. The key lies in creating a structured system that makes the learning process interactive, engaging, and, above all, practical. A well-designed structure not only breaks down complex concepts into easier-to-digest chunks but also helps children contextualize what they learn and apply the knowledge in real-life situations. It grants them a sense of independence and control, thereby opening room for experiential learning. Factoring in consequences and rewards into this structure can help reinforce the principles of wise spending, delayed gratification, and thoughtful decision making. Drawing from Mari Collins Harris, she brilliantly used the medium of an app to create such a system for her children. Ketshop, the app in question, was envisioned as a tool to help children make autonomous decisions involving money but within a controlled environment. The platform on offer is a virtual shop where children could save towards their goals and prioritize their spending. The beauty of this process is in its ability to mimic real-world scenarios, giving children a taste of managing their own finances while being insulated from severe repercussions. An interesting aspect of this teaching experiment was the introduction of charity. Apart from imparting a sense of responsibility and financial prudence, it also instills a sense of empathy and generosity in young minds. The prominence of this structured system of teaching can't be overstated. Such a practice embodies financial literacy not as isolated information to be mugged up but as a life skill to be ingrained and honed over time. This methodical approach allows children to not just understand the value of money but also its potential when managed wisely. By painting a realistic picture of the financial world, it helps children prepare for the future. Armed with this knowledge, they would be in a better position to deal with financial challenges down the line. Moreover, the skills imbibed—such as prioritizing, decision-making, and understanding the effect of financial actions—extend much beyond monetary matters, making them essential life skills. Above all, it gives children a sense of accomplishment and boosts their confidence, powered by the knowledge that they can make informed financial decisions from a young age.

How to Build a Strong Financial Foundation for Your Kids: A Step-by-Step Guide header
How to Build a Strong Financial Foundation for Your Kids: A Step-by-Step Guide header

Understanding the essence of money management is a crucial life skill, and there's no better time to start learning than in childhood. Mari Collins Harris' insightful discussion on creating a structured financial management system for children provides a clear pathway for parents. Using tools like the Ketshop app to provide a safe space for learning about money, defining financial goals, and instilling the spirit of giving are all significant steps on this journey. You, as parents, have the power to help your children navigate the world of money and shape their future financial habits. So, let's take this knowledge and transform it into action. Because the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

What other steps are you taking? Comment below and let me know.


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