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Would You Like a Million Pennies?


While talking with my son the other day (he’s 4), he found a penny on the ground. I asked him, “How many pennies would you like to have?”

He said, “One hundred.”

I asked, “Would you like a million pennies?”

He said, “No, that’s too many. They can’t fit in my pocket.”

You know what, I think he’s right. Here’s a neat illustration of one million pennies.

Part of me feels like I missed the opportunity to talk to him about how he can put his money in a bank and they will hold it for him. Then explain how he can make money by doing that. After hearing his simple answer, I could only smile because it was just that…so simple. But perhaps I should take opportunities like that to introduce finance related things to him. But is 4 years old too early??


  • Reply D |

    I don’t think it is too early, just make things age appropriate. All my kids are in advanced math classes and I credit this to what we did when they were younger.

    I didn’t speak with them at great length but we would dumb the change jar out each week and count and stack. They generally did this while I was cooking supper. We had a set amount we saved and then would take to the bank. They learned a lot like 4 quarters equal 1 dollar etc.

    I really think this put them on the right track.

    After this we started “how much change”. Everytime we went shopping and the clerk told us the total I would tell them what I was giving and ask how much change will i be getting back.

    It was fun and some times took the whole ride home to get the correct number.

  • Reply Chitown |

    Such a precious moment. I think there is a balance between live and let live and teaching a lesson. The innocence in that is too special. =)

    There will be time for that conversation. Maybe you could open up a savings account for him and when he gets a little older, you can take special weekly trips just the two of you to the bank and he can make a deposit into his account. That is a good way to let him learn a little about finance, counting, and also save for his education.

  • Reply Holly |

    A true story — back in the 50s when I was very small my father used to give me 50 cent pieces, or sometimes silver dollars. I thought they were much too pretty to spend, so by the time I was 7 I had almost 60 dollars which my mother convinced me to put in a bank. Do you know how much those COINS would now be worth???

  • Reply Tricia |

    D – That’s a great idea what you did with your children. Making it a game is sure to keep my son’s attention since he loves games πŸ™‚

    Chitown – I like your idea of taking trips to the bank. I guess at that moment it was just so innocent and I didn’t want to make much more of it. I think a lot of that has to do with myself having to worry about money at a young age. I lost a bit of my childhood there, and I do miss it. I want him to have fun being a kid, but also learn as much as he can from me. It’s a balance that I think I am after. I think I may make up a game as D suggested, and then after the games we take money to the bank.

    Miserly – Thanks πŸ™‚

    Holly – Funny you mentioned that about 50-cent pieces – it brought a memory flooding back into my mind. When I was quite young, my grandmother used to give me 50 cent pieces when she came across them. Unfortunately, I spent most of them on cigarettes when I was younger and after instant gratification. I wish I had put them in the bank, because I am sure they would have been worth much more now (20 years later).

    Ok. It is decided. My son will have a savings account as soon as I have some time to get to the bank.

    Thanks everyone!!

So, what do you think ?