Teach kids about taxes

Father and two young children

Teach children about taxes so they get used to this unavoidable part of life and help contribute to family fun.

Taxes are a part of life

We always seem shocked that tax time has crept up on us so unexpectedly. Nevertheless, Benjamin Franklin once reminded us that, "In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes."

Start by defining taxes

Here is a simple child's definition of taxes: It's the money we must give the government to pay for things such as schools, hospitals, sewers, bridges, sidewalks, firefighters, and police. All countries need money to pay for services that all people use.

Create a family tax jar

Hopefully, your kids are doing chores and earning money. The next step is to budget their money into Savings and Spending categories—and don't forget Charity. I also introduce taxes into the budget. Why? Remember the famous words of Ben Franklin; what a great time to make this a habit that won't constantly come as a surprise.

Each week when the kids earn their allowance, make them save 15% from that to go into the family tax jar. The family can vote on how to spend this for "the greater good of the family." Choose something fun, such as a trip to the local ice cream parlor!