What can your children learn about personal finance from Sesame Street?
Sure, Sesame Street has taught generations of children to count, spell, share and to be good to others. But can Sesame Street teach us personal finance lessons too? The answer is “Yes”. Sesame Street has created new content to teach finance lessons to children as young as 3 or 4. However, those lessons are the same ones we teach on our site – they just use examples that children can understand.
For example, one of the big lessons they try to teach is the value of waiting and patience until you can afford the purchase you really want. They give the example of wanting a big ball but only having enough money for a small ball. Do you buy that small ball now and get a little instant gratification or wait until you have enough money to afford the big ball that your really want? Certainly we can all relate to this and think back on some impulse decisions we made for instant gratification that we now regret (did you really those new speakers or that designer dress?). And most of us know that we should have started saving earlier rather than spending all our paycheck in the early years. Sesame Street covers the same concept – just at the level of a young child. Our site providers similar information – focused on adults!
The attached video covers another important concept – that when you get money you should put some of it aside as a habit. In the video the children have 3 jars – one jar for spending, one jar for saving and one jar for sharing. And when the children get money, they put money in each of the jars. Of course, this is one of the key concepts that we all try to learn in our own financial management – the idea of “paying yourself first”, and saving some money each time we get paid. This can be made easier through automatic deductions to a RRSP or other vehicle but most of us wait too long to start this good behaviour. Sesame Street is teaching this very same concept so that children begin to build good habits and parents can encourage this behaviour.
Smart investing and financial management require good habits and the earlier you start to build those habits, the better - Bravo Sesame Street!!