Lesson 13: Financial Life Skills Through Choices
While we’re talking about financial and life skills, there’s a game you can play with your kids to help them learn how their choices may affect their standard of living. This may be a way to grab your child’s attention with something interactive, that will allow you to teach these financial skills to your kids in a practical way. Here’s how to play.
To begin, each kid is told they have $1000 for the month in income and are given the following choices for shelter, transportation and food:
Kids & Money Lesson 13 — The Choices Game
- House ($600/mo)
- Duplex ($450/mo)
- Apartment ($375/mo)
- Car ($250/mo)
- Bus ($100/mo)
- Bike ($20/mo)
Food: Eating Out
- Once a week ($150/mo)
- Once a month ($120/mo)
- Twice a year ($100/mo)
First, have them choose one selection from each group based on what they can afford. Have them tell you: How much is left over?
Next, have them choose the lowest ‘standard of living’ choices in each group (#3) How much is left over?
Now, ask your kids: Which of these two scenarios makes them feel as though they would have a better ‘quality of life’? In other words, which scenario makes them feel better financially? Help your kids to understand that leftover funds will help with emergencies. What if they choose all #1’s and then have an emergency?
Life skills takeaway: The bigger margin scenario should be recognized as more emotionally beneficial.
Note to parents:
As you can see, this game won’t necessarily be 100% accurate or all-inclusive for a monthly budget. The point is to have them reflect on standard of living versus quality of life, as a financial life skills lesson. A high standard of living at a limited income can decrease quality of life because of the lack of margin, or “the difference” between what you make and owe.
Life skills takeaway: The only time a high standard of living can have an equally high quality of life is when income has increased to allow for the increase of standard of living without sacrificing a comfortable margin or breathing room in the finances.
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