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2017 Kid Essay Contest

Important Dates:

February 24, 2017 by 5 pm – Deadline for essay submissions to be received

March 31, 2017 –  Finalists notified, make arrangements for recognition ceremony

Download your application here

In support of Money Smart Week taking place April 22-29, 2017, Money Smart Week— St. Louis Metro, an effort of the Greater St. Louis Financial Education Collaborative, will be sponsoring the Money Smart Kid Essay Contest. Students in grades 6–8 are encouraged to answer this year’s question with an essay of 300 words or less. Three finalists will be recognized at the Money Smart Kick-Off Event. One student will be named the 2017 Money Smart Kid, winning a $2,000 scholarship from COUNTRY Financial, a second student will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the Metropolitan St. Louis CRA Association, and a third will be awarded a $500 scholarship from Vantage Credit Union.

Download your application here

2017 Money Smart Kid Essay Contest Question:

Do you think there is a connection between financial health and physical health? Please explain your answer. And what can a city, state or national policymaker do to help promote financially healthier citizens?

What Parents NEED to Know

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You already know why you should have ongoing discussions about money with your children.

  • It teaches them to be responsible with spending and saving.
  • They can learn from your mistakes and your accomplishments.
  • It sets them on the path for financial success.

On the flip side, your child doesn’t need to know everything you’re thinking, when it comes to money. Giving all your knowledge, facts, feelings and information about money to them all at once, or too early, can be overwhelming for children. In order for children not to worry, or the opposite – to feel as there is an endless supply of money, it is better to talk about finances in general terms.

  • Teach the differences between needs and wants.
  • Discuss debt in general and ways to avoid it or manage it.
  • Talk about the importance of saving money, even if you don’t have much.

Start teaching toddlers the difference between needs and wants as soon as they understand that they need food and a bed to sleep in. Needs and wants change as a child grows, keep those conversations going. Give children guided choices in spending allowances, birthday money, etc. Some children are successful with dividing their money among a few goals; saving (e.g. a new game system), spending (e.g. snacks, small toys), sharing (e.g. donations, gifts), and investing (e.g. college).

When a younger child asks how much money your family has, you may reply with, “I make enough money so that we can afford to pay all of our bills, pay for the car, and pay for…” this provides your child enough information to know you are able to take care of him–and you won’t have to worry about him spilling your financial business to his classmates.

When your child starts asking why others have things that your family doesn’t, you don’t have to make excuses, or get offended. “What parents should say is, ‘every family has its own way of doing things,’” Keeping the conversation about your own household helps your child focus more on what your family is doing and what your values are, and less on what is going on in their friends’ homes.

Involve your children in some saving aspects of the family finances. A family vacation is a perfect example of involving the entire family. How much does it cost to go camping nearby, to visit family in another state, to make a trip to Disney World? Set a date one to two years away, make plans, and start saving together.

As your child becomes older, you may choose to discuss you family finances in more depth. Remember to concentrate on solutions to money problems (e.g. cutting credit cards, using lists when shopping) and the choices made for accomplishments (e.g. Christmas savings account, budgeting).

For more Money Smart information for yourself or your children, check out the many free workshops offered all over the St. Louis region during Money Smart Week.

Download your application here

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