Hello, Muddah. Hello, Fadduh. Here I am at Camp High
Finance. Camp is very entertaining. And they say we'll have some
fun when the stock market goes up.
To learn about money isn't one
of the traditional reasons most people send their kids to camp,
but these days it could be one of the best.
Having "the talk" about money is harder
for many parents than having the talk about you-know-what. Who wants
to sound like Scrooge? And besides, most of us are pretty self-conscious
about the subject and get tongue-tied when the conversation turns
to what we earn and what we owe.
So why not let the kids spend a few summer days learning
the facts of life about managing and investing money from somebody
who can lay it on the line without dredging up family issues that
could quickly cloud a sunny day?
Will the kids like Camp Money?
"I doubt it. It sounds like an adult agenda to
me," says Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University
of Rochester and an expert on parent-child relationships.
Fulfilling a need
Nevertheless, the concept of a money camp is growing in popularity.
While it probably won't displace swimming as the most popular camp
activity, finance is on the agenda more and more often.
More than 600 kids ages 10 to 18 will attend The
Money Camp this summer in its original location in Santa Barbara,
Calif., as well as at locations in Calgary, Alberta; Edmonton, Alberta;
Mexico City and North Carolina. Executive director Elisabeth Donati,
a dietician and exercise expert, was inspired after she read Robert
Kiyosaki's book, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad." The camp has expanded
every year for the last five.
Kids need this kind of camp more than they need traditional
camps, Donati says. "They already know how to swim, but they
don't know anything about passive income, leverage, the real estate
business or the stock market."
The day camps cost about $260 per week for the first
child in a family. Campers study basic economics, budgeting, how
the stock market works and how to run a small business.
"We use accelerated teaching techniques, so the
kids aren't bored," Donati says. "It's very fun, and every
year it gets more fun."
In Texas, financial planner Sherry Rhoades is introducing
Kids Camp this summer. It's a two-day program for $300. Children
ages 8 to 11 will do role playing, learning things like sales and
handling money. A program for kids 12 and older will concentrate
on teaching the value of money in preparation for buying a car and
going to college.
Get 'em while they're young
"Being a financial planner, I've worked with people for many
years. It's frustrating to me that so many of them don't have basic
knowledge. At their age, it's hard to change their habits after
they have developed problems with credit. I decided that teaching
kids when they are young is the only way to go," says Rhoades.