Tools to Help Your Kids Understand Finances

Marshall Rathmell |


As the saying goes, kids say the darndest things. Recently, my wife and I spent time with friends who also have children our kids’ ages. As we prepared to leave, another mother said we should plan to get together more frequently. My 7-year-old son piped up, “yes, we should. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” As everyone chuckled, someone asked him where he heard that phrase. “Warren Buffett says so,” he replied.


Of course everyone gave me a hard time, so I had to explain.  Warren Buffet plays a part in an animated series called The Secret Millionaires Club.  In the series, a group of kids who run into financial and entrepreneurial business problems create the club with Warren Buffett as their mentor.  They have several cameo appearances from people like Jay Z and Shaquille O’Neal.  My 7-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter love the show and quote some of Warren’s lessons just when we least expect it.  On “Dress as your Favorite Person” day at school, my son dressed as Warren Buffett. My daughter calls him “Mr. Buppett.”


I frequently complain about the lack of quality financial education provided to America’s children.  Many lessons that have a significant impact on our financial futures are basic in nature, but if they are not ingrained during childhood, making the switch in adulthood can be challenging. The Secret Millionaires Club addresses issues like financial planning, setting aside money for a rainy day, not living off of credit, doing your research about a business rather than impulsively investing, and many more. The lessons are presented in a kid-friendly format and are easily absorbed by children.  My son pointed out just yesterday that a neighbor’s lemonade stand would likely be more successful if he moved it off of our quiet neighborhood street and to, and I quote, “a place with more foot traffic.” My son pointed out that the location was all right since there was no competition from other lemonade stands, and it was a hot day so demand would be high, but the lack of foot traffic would insure few customers. “He’s doomed,” said my young businessman.


I admit it, I was pretty proud of my little man.  


The creators of the series, Genius Brands International, have produced DVDs which can be purchased on Amazon at this link.  They also have short webisodes with corresponding lessons for teachers, lessons for parents and comic books—all free--on their website:

-Marshall Rathmell-