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Young Money

An Arlington elementary school holds a workshop on teaching finance to children.

At what age should you be talking to your children about money? According to Barbara Caceres, "Kids should start learning about money as soon as they can learn how to count."

Caceres, a family therapist in Vienna, spoke to students and parents at the Arlington Traditional School earlier this month about learning early how to manage finances. She said that she gives these talks to various groups because "Parents are missing an opportunity to teach life skills [to their children]."

She then added jokingly that, "I also love money."

The event was organized by the school’s Parent Teacher Association. A potluck dinner was followed by Caceres’ presentation to the elementary students.

She asked them to name all the things they could do with money. The students brought up earning it, saving it, borrowing it, loaning it and spending it. One astute student noted that you could also gamble it.

Caceres encouraged the students to make a "spending plan" and emphasized the difference between a need and a want. She also informed them — to much amazement — that if they saved a mere $1.25 per week they would have $53,000 by the time they were 65 years old.

The students then went off to separate financial workshops while Caceres talked to their parents.

She told them that, in terms of an allowance, "[Children] should have enough [money] to do something with but not too much that they don’t have to make choices."

The financial education seminar was one of the semi-monthly events put on by Arlington Traditional School’s PTA for students and parents.