Kids and Money: What They Really Think

I’ve spent years trying to teach my children, particularly my four-year-old daughter, about money. We’ve discussed why mommy and daddy have to work (to make money to pay for things like our house, food, gas, and fun stuff – like school and her dance classes); we’ve discussed that those shiny coins are more than just pretty objects, that they are forms of money; we’ve discussed that everything you see in the store costs money, and if you want to buy something, you have to save up those shiny coins.

Pretty basic stuff.

And even though she’s a smart kid, I realize she’s only four. So maybe I shouldn’t have had such lofty expectations when I channeled the Bare Naked Ladies and asked what she would do if she had a million dollars. Her answer?

Her: “I’d buy a dinosaur. A big T-rex!”

Me (feigning terror):”A real one?”

Her:”No, Mommy. You can’t have a real dinosaur anymore. They’re stinky.”

Me:”Do you mean they’re ‘extinct’”?

Her:”Yeah, they’re stink.”

Her answer got me thinking about what other kids think about money – and what they’d do with it if they got some. So I asked my friends (via Facebook) to ask their children the same question. Their answers, listed below by age, show how the relationship between kids and money changes over time.

And, to be honest, they’re too adorable not to read.

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Preschoolers say…

“I would buy so much stuff, like toys for me.”   -boy, age 4

“All of Barbie’s clothes.”   -girl, age 3

“I don’t know… play with it?”   -girl, age 4

“I don’t like dollars. What about a million pennies? Pennies are cooler.”   -boy, age 4

“Pay for a puppy.”   -girl, age 4

“Buy a doggie, but just one.”   -boy, age 2

“Buy a big pancake and eat it!”   -boy, age 4

Elementary School Students say…

“Probably use most of it for the church offering.”   -boy, age 6

“I would get all the superheroes.”   -boy, age 5

“I would stay in Disney.”   -girl, age 5

“I would buy a computer.”   -girl, age 7

“I’d go to a pumpkin patch and buy Disney World and lots of necklaces.”   -girl, age 5

“I’d buy the biggest Lego toy in the world.”   -boy, age 6

Middle School Students say…

“I’d buy a Kindle Fire and some other stuff. And if there was anything left, give some to charity.”   -girl, age 11

“I’d buy myself an iPhone and invest the rest.”   -boy, age 12

“I would spend half on my needs, and half on my wants.”   -girl, age 12

“Save it so I can get all the interest.”   -boy, age 13

“Spend a little, but save the rest so  could be a millionaire!”   -boy, age 13