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How to Teach Kids About Money

Play the Game of Life: Yes, the actual game, which is geared to kids 8 and up. Although critics of this classic decry its "player with the most money wins" ethos, pulling out the board will inspire a natural conversation about taxes (the game regularly requires you to pay half your paycheck), interest, insurance, career choice, the stock market, and the financial impact of simple bad or good luck. Several years ago, Milton Bradley released a new version that uses credit cards instead of money and allows players to choose nontraditional work and life paths. Both versions will give you plenty to talk about.

Make A Mini-Budget: Many family money talks quickly devolve into power struggles, especially with older kids. Your child wants this or that name-brand item; you think it's a waste. You believe he doesn't understand the value of a dollar; he feels you don't understand his life. Kim Speek, a mother of two in Boulder, CO, found herself avoiding shopping with her 12-year-old daughter -- until she gave the tween a quarterly clothing budget. Arguments ceased as soon as her daughter was able to make the decisions and feel their impact herself. Most surprising to Speek: "Now that it's her money, she often happily chooses the less-expensive items." This tactic can work whenever specific items make shopping miserable, whether the budget is for snack food, music, or toys.