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Using Fiction to Discuss Money Matters with Children

Last week, we looked at lessons to be learned from the announcement that Toys R Us is closing its stores. There is nothing wrong with buying toys or other objects, as long as you recognize that they can offer a low return on investment since the good feelings they may spark are temporary.

Another way to teach your children valuable lessons about money and finance is through books. You can do this with books that are specifically written on financial topics in a nonfiction format. Or, as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) advises, you can also use children’s books that feature fictional stories to get your kids to think about money.

The CFPB’s Money as You Grow book club offers guidance to “…help you get started reading and talking about money choices like saving, spending, and more.” Reading about and discussing the choices fictional characters make regarding money can help children to think about what they have done or would do in a similar situation.  The bureau offers guides online so parents and other caregivers can work with children in the home and also provides tips in case you want to start a book club using these materials.

Some of the titles such as The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money, in which two siblings save up for a video game, have money as the central challenge of the plot. Other titles, like A Chair for My Mother weave financial issues into stories where characters are dealing with other challenges. In A Chair for My Mother, a girl and her family save for a comfortable chair after losing their belongings in a fire.

In addition the books recommended, you can talk to you children about the money matters that play into the movies and TV shows they watch.

And don’t forget that adults can benefit from reflecting on the financial matters they read about. We have highlighted lesson that adults can find though non fiction (Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending) and fictional titles such as (The Nest and A Christmas Carol).