A Lesson for your Kids about Math and Money
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A Lesson for your Kids about Math and Money

It’s very hard to figure out when and how to discuss money with your children.  It’s almost as difficult, surprisingly, as talking with them about sex.  But there is an easy way, one that also gives them at the same time an unusual introduction to math, especially fractions and multiples.

Today, banks (and there are an unusually large number of both online banks and brick-and-mortar banks) compete with one another to offer the best interest on both short and long-term money accounts and CDs.  In fact, there is a dizzying array of offers out there of constantly changing rates.

For parents and children the new environment and competing banks offer a perfect opportunity for introducing easy to grasp but highly important skills in money management concepts and division and fractions.  Equally, bank interest rate competition also provides an environment of very low risk, making things both fun and safe.   Many online banks – including Ally and CIT – make it particularly easy to open a savings account for minors.   Such a savings account is a far safer place to put allowance, presents or earnings than trying to teach your kids to experiment with small stock purchases as a way to introduce concepts of income generation and the like.

What makes it all even better for introducing math and money matters to children is that there are a number of sites, including BestCashCow, where the primary focus is on tracking and making easily available changes and fluctuations of interest and CD rates over short periods of time and across the spectrum of the nation’s banks. 

In particular, this site and RatesAndInfo.com have great calculators that offer a real resource to demonstrate to your kids the value of compounding money throughout their lifetimes, and the importance of incremental improvements in a savings rate when compounded over time.

Daniel Socolow
Daniel Socolow: President, Socolow Group. Former Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, President of the American University of Paris, Vice President of Spelman College. BA, MA, Ph.D.


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