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Virtual Stock Exchange, Driver's Ed for Credit Cards, Boom Bands: Weekly Family Finance Picks (#39)

We’re constantly scouring the Internet looking for articles related to family finances and teaching kids good personal finance habits. You can visit the FamZoo delicious page to see our ever growing list of family finance bookmarks. We’re up to 1169 now! Each week, we pick our favorite articles from the previous week and post them here.

Here they are for this week:

Children and Money: Turning Childish Greed into Grown-up Capitalism

Kind of a slow week for kids & money articles, so I’m gonna lead off with an article that was originally published back in April of 1998, but was just put up on a web archive. The author, David Owen, wrote the book The First National Bank of Dad — my all-time favorite for parents tackling the money mentoring issue. The article provides a nice capsule summary of the virtual bank concept.

Avoid the Crash, Be Prepared!I also like the commentary on creating a virtual stock exchange — the “Stock Exchange of Dad” — as a way to teach kids about the stock market, risk, and reward in a tangible way. It’s actually something I hope to build into FamZoo someday. I’d let the parents choose the denomination and even tweak the volatility with a multiplier to drive home the messages about risk more rapidly and memorably.

Even though the article is over 10 years old, it’s no less relevant today. Read it here.

Teaching Your Kids to Use Credit Cards Correctly

(Before I jump into this pick, I gotta say I love the name of this site — Nerd Wallet. I wonder what proportion of his readers are unabashed geeks like myself...Anyway, back to the article.)

When I think of credit cards, this (revised) line from folk singer Ani DiFranco comes to mind “Every tool is a weapon - if you hold it right wrong.” The credit card can be a great tool when used properly. Use it incorrectly, and you’re wielding a weapon that can inflict some serious damage. Kinda like a car.

Many experts advise parents to keep their teens away from credit cards entirely. To me, that just feels like an abdication of a parental responsibility. Why not educate them about a financial tool they’ll undoubtedly use someday? Better for teens to learn (and make some mistakes) under a parent’s watchful eye now rather than learn on their own the hard way later as an adult.

Want to teach your teen how to use a credit card properly? Consider Steven’s tips here.

8 Money Lessons from Dr. Seuss

Are you a Dr. Seuss fan? Silly question, I know.

My brother helped me learn to read with One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. I’ve read countless Seuss books countless times to our 5 kids over the years. Like a bajillion other young (almost) adults, I received Oh, The Places You’ll Go! from my Mom and Dad — a book I still periodically re-read when I feel like I'm slumping in “The Waiting Place.” Every Christmas Eve, the Dwight clan crams into the family room to watch The Grinch — each competing with the other to prove who can recite the most lines out loud (with “Stuffed the tree up!” always in perfect chorus).

So, I couldn’t pass up 8 Money Lessons from Dr. Seuss when I stumbled upon it last week. OK, the article is a little bit of a stretch, but you can’t go wrong reading a little Dr. Seuss. Do yourself a favor: go (re)read Oh, The Places You’ll Go! right now. I just re-read the copy I received in May 1990 — just 4 months after the initial publish date. The inscription reads:

Dear Bill, We hope the places you go will always have Boom Bands playing. Love, Mom & Dad

I feel better already!

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