Last year, when our son was four, I decided to conduct a brief interview with him about money. The article was entitled, “Interviewing My Four-Year-Old About Money.” I really just wanted to see where we stood with his comprehension of what money was and what was he thought it could do.
Well, it’s now a year later, and I’m amazed by the progress our son has made in many areas, but one that I’m still kind of puzzled about is his progress when it comes to the subject of money. Being a personal finance writer and blogger, I hope I’m steering him in the right direction, but it’s hard to know for sure. Therefore, I decided to conduct the interview again, posing many of the same questions I did in the first interview.
Here were my five-year-old son’s answers.
Me: “What is money?”
Son: “Money is like…if you have…$10. And you can buy…expensive stuff with it.
Me: “What do you do with money?”
Son: “You sell it to the bank.”
Me: “You sell it to the bank?
Son: “Well, remember that thing that the bank, where you put all your pennies in there?”
Me: “The change machine?
Son: “Uh huh.” (He’s amazed when we dump our collected change in the bank machine and the little conveyor belt carries it up into the machine, counts it and prints out a receipt we cash at the teller. I’ll admit it is pretty cool).
Me: “How much money is a lot of money?”
Son: “A quarter.”
(Well, at least I know where to start his allowance now.)
Me: “How do adults get money?”
Son: “By WORKING!”
Me: “How does money get in the bank?”
Son: (long pause) I don’t know.
Me: “You don’t know? Do we take it there?”
Son: “Yeah, we take it there.
Me: (prodding now) And we give it to the bank teller? And they put it in the bank for us?”
Son: (giving me nothing) Uh huh. Yeah.
Me: “How do you get money?”
Son: By going for walks and playing the game to find money (we see who can find the most loose change around town on our walks, if you couldn’t guess).
Me: “Do you get money from anywhere else?”
Son: From uncles.
Me: “What would you buy with your money if you had the choice?”
Son: A pillow racer (I have no idea what that is, but obviously he wants one – note to self, bookmark this article for Christmas).
Me: “Is there anything else you would buy with your money?”
Son: “Huh uh.”
Me: “Is it better to spend money or to save it?”
Son: “Save it.”
Me: “What would you save it for?”
Son: “To go places…like going go-karting or going to the carnival.”
Me: “Is there anything else you’d like to say about money?”
Son: “YES!…(long pause). Um, well, like two quarters or three can buy expensive stuff.”
Me: “What’s expensive stuff?”
Son: “Glass can be expensive. (Looking around the room now) Computers can be expensive…and tvs.”
Me: “What about houses? How much do you think a house costs?”
Son: “A lot. Like one hundred or two hundred dollars.”
Me: “How much do you think a car costs?”
Son: “One hundred and sixteen dollars.”
Well, I can’t say that our money education has exactly progressed in leaps and bounds, but I guess it’s coming along. We still haven’t started an allowance just yet, but I think it’s about time. And while I’m glad that my son thinks a quarter is a lot of money, which means he still appreciates smaller amounts of money, my interview still points to that fact that he really has no clue as to how much stuff really costs; and the sooner he learns that, the sooner he can get a better handle on what it takes to be successful with his own personal finances.
More From This Contributor:
Why My Blog Doesn’t Make Any Money
5 Websites that Could Save You Money
How I Differentiate My Blog