Mississippi News

McRae: Help kids learn finances this summer!

By Treasurer David McRae

It’s hard to believe, but summer is here already! For many, it’s the beginning of a jam-packed schedule (from beach trips to summer camps to T-ball practice). But even as parents are sent running around, it seems like the kids themselves are in frequent need of activities to beat the summer boredom. Well, I have a few fun ideas for you this week to help beat that boredom, while also teaching the kiddos about the basics of finances.

There will likely be no shortage of days this summer where it’s simply too hot to play outside. When that happens, it’s time to dig out Monopoly. Without realizing it, kids will be exposed to financial decision making. They’ll see their money choices play out in real time. As they get better at the game, they’ll also be learning better money management skills. (Pro-tip: Stick with an older version of Monopoly, not the new credit card models. The tangible exchange of money will help kids learn faster)!

Can’t get the kids away from the screen? Have them visit Treasury.MS.gov/FinancialEducation. Here, we host a number of fun online games to keep them entertained and educated! There are activities for kids of all ages. Please check it out.

Of course, there are infinitely more lessons to be learned outside the home. Heading to a baseball game, an amusement park or the beach this summer? Talk to your kids ahead of time about managing their money. Then, give them the cash they’ll need to enjoy the day (from the entrance fee to concessions). Let them navigate the day while counting out and paying for each step of the activity. It will aid their math skills while also teaching them financial responsibility.

Finally, if you’re looking for a longer-term goal, consider starting the summer by sitting down with your kids and coming up with a summer savings goal. Help them set something realistic (maybe it’s a new toy, an amusement park ticket, or trendy outfit). Using crayons, markers, or the computer, they can make a piece of art that helps them track progress. Then, work with them to put their allowances, birthday money, and more toward the savings. Encourage them to reach their goal faster through additional chores, walking a neighbor’s dog, or setting up a lemonade stand. When they’ve reached their goal, celebrate!

I hope this gives you one or two ideas to keep kids financially engaged this summer, as you bounce between their activities and your obligations. Have a safe summer!

Mississippi Treasurer David McRae is the 55th Treasurer for the State of Mississippi. In this role, he helps manage the state’s cash flow, oversees College Savings Mississippi, and has returned more than $85 million in unclaimed money to Mississippians. For more information, visit www.Treasury.MS.gov