Learning about Money the Summer Fun Way

Alice Cooper sang it first: “School’s out for summer!” Now that Memorial Day has come and gone, summer 2024 is officially upon us. The kids are home, and many are starting to enjoy unstructured days of sleeping late and spending more time doing—whatever they want.

On the other hand, many teens and pre-teens are starting summer jobs to earn extra spending money or build up savings for an anticipated purchase; they’ve got money on their minds!

But whether your child is working a summer job or not, summer is still a great time to instill some basic financial savvy. In fact, it’s important to teach financial concepts and skills to the next generation so they can be prepared as their responsibilities increase. Parents and involved grandparents can have a major impact on children’s financial attitudes, habits, and understandings. By setting good examples and involving their kids in age-appropriate learning opportunities, they can help mold the next generation, increasing their financial readiness.

No matter how old your child or grandchild is, whether working a summer gig or not, we’ve come up with a few fun summer activities you can do with them.


  • Value of Money
    • Help them begin to understand the value of money by starting small. Let them buy something with the money they have saved: a favorite snack, a coveted (inexpensive) toy, or something similar. Encourage them to put the change in their piggy bank.
    • Blast from the Past: Have them pick a commonly used item and compare today’s price to a historical cost, such as the year a parent or grandparent was born. Talk about how prices tend to increase over time.
  • Savings
    • Help them set a savings goal for things they want: a new bike, a video game, or something else that will require time to achieve but is still within reach. Decorate jars for each savings goal, and encourage them to “deposit” money they make for doing household chores, birthday money, etc. Help them track progress as the jars fill up. For a fun twist, turn it into a family competition or designate a charity to fundraise for!
  • Income and Expenses
    • Encourage your child to run a lemonade stand for the day or even a week as a fun way to learn about income. Help them make a list of all needed supplies, with costs included. At the end of the period, compare income with expenses. Did they turn a profit? Was their pricing appropriate to cover their costs?
    • Using a pizza to represent your monthly income, take away slices for different expenses and goals (examples: mortgage/rent, utilities, groceries, and savings). Use this to help them visualize what it takes to run a household for a month.


  • Savings
    • Explain the importance of allocating money into different buckets, such as needs, wants, or savings. Encourage them to share goals, whether they include saving for a vehicle, covering summer camp tuition, or something else. You may even want to help them open a bank account if they don’t already have one and encourage them to keep track of deposits and expenditures as they accumulate funds to pay for their goals.
    • Help your working teen set up an automatic transfer so part of every paycheck is automatically transferred to their savings account. Grandparents may even want to gift an IRA, which can then be used to demonstrate the value of tax-advantaged compounding and growth in real-time.
  • Build-a-Budget
    • Give them a budget for a specific occasion, such as dinner or a weekend trip.
    • Have them list estimated costs.
    • Have them research to obtain realistic costs.
    • Talk through their findings and help them learn creative ways to stay within budget.
  • Investing
    • Help them research stocks and select a few they like—perhaps companies that they are familiar with. Record the purchase price and monitor performance over a predetermined period. Consider allowing them to open an account to buy fractional shares or ETFs; alternatives (some of which include parental controls and low or no fees) include Step, Greenlight, and Acorns Early.

The JFS Commitment

As a fiduciary financial advisor and wealth manager, JFS is committed to building financial literacy in our communities. Our outreach efforts are designed to educate those who may need access to financial education resources. Our webinars present helpful information on various financial topics in an easy-to-access format, and our free January 2024 Financial Literacy event in Cortland, Ohio, provided attendees with a day of financial learning. Our fiduciary standard means ongoing dedication to clients and their priorities. Part of that duty is assisting clients with next-generation planning, including educating those who will be assuming greater financial responsibilities in the future. Regardless of age or level of experience, clients of JFS Wealth Advisors deserve the best service we can provide. To learn more, please contact your advisor for questions or more information.

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