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Three C’s to Equip Milkids with Financial Literacy

Sponsored by First Command Financial Services 

This military spouse life comes with loads of responsibility: Managing HH6 in the absence of our service member, cross-country (sometimes global!) PCSes, childrearing, tribe-building, and so much more. It goes without saying that “adulting” can be challenging for anyone, but even more so for military spouses and our kiddos. So, one of the best things we can do for the next generation is equip them with financial literacy. 

When a child grows up without knowing how to handle money, their livelihood can be at risk, whereas a firm grasp on finances can help them pursue independence and life goals.

Not everyone comes to adulthood equipped with financial literacy, and that is where First Command Financial Services can provide the tools to empower you for the current AND next generations. 

Check out these three foundational tips to equip milkids with financial literacy.

1. Cultivate the importance of earning money.  

There are various ways to teach children about money and the best starting point is to consider their age. For preschool/ kindergarten ages, introduce them to coins and cash, explaining necessary details about the currency.

  • Take them to a grocery store and show them prices. Explain the specific coins and bills you’d use to pay for a few specific items or begin explaining the basics of what a debit card represents. This will help them understand the value of the things you purchase for your family. 

Financial Literacy

  • As they get older, consider paying them for chores around the house with a regular allowance. As teens, perhaps help them make connections in your neighborhood for jobs like yard work, dog walking, and babysitting, or even on-post with some summer jobs through CYS or MWR/Recreation.  


2. Create a battle rhythm of saving and budgeting.

Once your children understand how money works, such as embracing the value of currency as explored above, they are likely ready to learn about spending and saving in the realm of budgeting.Financial Literacy

  • To get started, opening a savings account for them, then help them plan a budget that includes saving and spending. 
  • Consider giving them opportunities to spend or save, such as having them pay for a snack they like or fun adventures with friends. You may also consider the “big life lessons” of replacing items (within reason) if their actions result in the loss or damage of something.

For example, they may need to work or save to replace an Xbox controller that was broken after repeatedly dropped on the floor due to carelessness (completely hypothetical, of course).


3. Contemplate their long-term goals alongside them.  

It may be hard for a teen to understand the importance of saving for a long-term goal if we simply say: “You want a car? Pay for it yourself.” Sure, it may show them that they need to save for it, but such a statement alone doesn’t teach them how to make their money work for them. (It may also be extremely overwhelming for a teen to save a few thousand bucks on their own, and as a result, end their goal before it begins).Financial Literacy

  • Come alongside them to offer support and insight but encourage them to contemplate what they want long-term.
  • Share information about compound interest, and perhaps matching their savings after a certain amount of time or when a specific amount is reached.
  • Let them see their savings balance before and after you match it, so they have a full understanding of the benefits of consistently saving for an end goal that initially may have appeared impossible. 

As you and your military child are contemplating long-term goals, be fully transparent about all aspects of those goals that may not be initially visible. Let’s take the above example of a teen saving for their own car.

At first glance, the teen may assume it is a fixed rate for purchasing a car, but that doesn’t take into account the recurring payments such as insurance, gas, registration, and maintenance. Financial literacy is a challenging, but necessary, lesson for military kids to learn.

Take the approach to cultivate, create, and contemplate the various aspects of financial literacy to get your military kiddos (and entire military family) financially ready for anything. 

For more tips on teaching your children about financial literacy or other financial readiness tips, contact a First Command Financial Advisor.

*For more articles like this, check out First Command’s sponsored posts archive on Army Wife Network Homepage

©2022 First Command Financial Services, Inc. parent of First Command Brokerage Services, Inc (Member SIPC, FINRA), First Command Advisory Services, Inc., First Command Insurance Services, Inc. and First Command Bank. Securities products and brokerage services are provided by First Command Brokerage Services, Inc., a broker-dealer. Financial planning and investment advisory services are provided by First Command Advisory Services, Inc., an investment adviser. Insurance products and services are provided by First Command Insurance Services, Inc. Banking products and services are provided by First Command Bank (Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender). Securities are not FDIC insured, have no bank guarantee and may lose value. A financial plan, by itself, cannot assure that retirement or other financial goals will be met. First Command Financial Services, Inc. and its related entities are not affiliated with, authorized to sell or represent on behalf of or otherwise endorsed by any federal employee benefits programs referenced, by the U.S. government, or the U.S. armed forces.



  • M:M Command Team

    With over 159 years of military spouse experience and 68 PCSes under their belts, the M:M Command team is the ultimate Battle Buddy to help navigate Milspouse life. Powered by volunteer spirit and optimism the M:M Command Team could run a small country, but instead are dedicated entirely to the global empowerment of military spouses to help them conquer adversity, foster confidence, and thrive in this military life.

1 Comment

  1. Sharita Knobloch

    I’ve been working on some of these with my 9-year-old daughter and look forward to using these tips as she gets older as well. Thanks for sharing this and being such a supporter of Army Wife Network.


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