What Kids Think About Money

Recently, I had the privilege of speaking to a women’s group on the topic of kids and money. In preparation, I did a little reconnaissance and asked some kids and teenagers a few questions about money.

Kids have an interesting perspective on anything having to do with numbers. If you’ve ever asked a kid how old they think you are, then you know what I mean. You’ve either fallen over with laughter at the improbability of the answer or shed a tear because you’re slightly offended.

Here’s what I asked them, and here’s what they had to say.


What Kids Think About Money

Q: Where does money come from?

  • From a money factory. – 8 y.o.
  • I don’t know. – 13 y.o.
  • From work. – 5 y.o.
  • From the bank. – 19 y.o.

Q: How much do you think one week of groceries for your family costs?

  • $50 – 10 y.o. (family of 6)
  • With or without coupons? $60 with, $80 without. – 9 y.o. (family of 4)
  • $300 – 13 y.o. (family of 4)
  • $500 – 19 y.o. (family of 5)

Q: How much do you think one year of college costs?

  • $100 – 10 y.o.
  • $85,000 – 9 y.o.
  • $5,000 – 15 y.o.
  • Um, in the hundreds. – 8 y.o.

Q: How much do you think a car costs on average?

  • $800,000 – 9 y.o. (This is my son’s answer. Yikes, I’ve got some work to do!)
  • $200 – 8 y.o.
  • A new car? $20,000 – 19 y.o.
  • What type of a car? A Volvo Wagon? $72,000 – I remember it from when my Mom bought it. – 9 y.o.

Q: How much do you think a house costs?

  • $50,000 – 10 y.o.
  • What type of house? A mansion?…$10,000. My house?…$1,000 – 8 y.o.
  • $11,000 to $20,000 – 13 y.o.
  • Money – 5 y.o.

Q: Do you prefer to have your own spending money or do you prefer to ask your parents to buy you things?

  • Ask my parents, but they have to always say yes. – 8 y.o.
  • My own. – 19 y.o.
  • My own. – 14 y.o.
  • My own. I don’t want to wait for Mom and Dad’s money. – 5 y.o.

Q: Would you rather have cash or a credit card? Why?

  • Credit card, of course! It’s infinite money. – 9 y.o.
  • Credit card. It’s easier to hold than millions of dollars. – 8 y.o.
  • Cash. Banks can’t charge you interest on cash. – 14 y.o.
  • Cash, because I like money. – 5 y.o.

Q: What is the difference between a debit card and a credit card?

  • Credit cards go to your credit score. Debit cards go to your debit score. – 9 y.o.
  • You swipe a credit card, and it takes the money away. I’ve never heard of a debit card. – 8 y.o.
  • A credit card is your own money. A debit card is a loan. – 13 y.o.
  • A debit card is your own money. A credit card is the bank’s. – 14 y.o.

Q: If you had $100 what would you do with it?

  • Give half to the homeless and buy Christmas presents for my family with the other half. – 10 y.o.
  • Save all of it. – 19 y.o.
  • $10 on iTunes, $25 on books, some on sports stuff, and the rest on iTunes. – 8 y.o.
  • I would buy a car. – 5 y.o.

Q: What do you do when you want to buy something, but you don’t have enough money?

  • I do chores to earn the money. – 13 y.o.
  • Wait and save for it. – 8 y.o.
  • Ask my parents. – 10 y.o.
  • Beg my parents. – 8 y.o.

Q: What do you want to do when you grow up? How much do you think you will earn in that job?

  • Soccer player or inventor. $100,000/soccer season. Inventions vary. – 9 y.o.
  • Paranormal investigator. $100/week – 10 y.o.
  • A professional musician. $5000 to $6000/week – 19 y.o.
  • A scientist. $50/hr – 13 y.o.

Q: At what age do you think most people retire?

  • In their 40’s. – 8 y.o.
  • After 20 years of work. – 10 y.o.
  • When they get old. – 19 y.o.
  • Senior age. – 9 y.o.

Q: How much money do you think people need to have saved up for retirement?

  • A couple billion. – 10 y.o.
  • $1000 to $2000 – 8 y.o.
  • $10,000 – 10 y.o.
  • To live comfortably? $20,000. – 15 y.o.
We can have a good laugh at some of the answers, but the point is, kids pick up messages and form opinions about money whether we realize it or not. And the absence of a message is a message in itself.

Parents or not, let us all be reminded to be intentional about what we model for the children in our lives…they are watching us, learning from us, and in most cases repeating what we do.

If you’re looking for a good laugh, a conversation starter, or a teachable moment, ask a kid a few of these questions. I’d love to hear their answers. Let me know in the comments below.


You may also like: 15 Things I Wish I Knew About Money

What Kids Think About Money


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