Summer Camp and the Stock Market

by Lisa McCarthy

Money Smart KidsFunny how so many little things in our children's lives can turn into money lessons that will last a lifetime!

As parents we know that the more we can teach our daughter about finances and be fiscally responsible, the better off she will be prepared in the future.

That's why when my daughter came home from camp with grand visions of her next adventure I was happy to see it turn into a money lesson as well.

You see, my daughter just experienced her first sleep away at Camp Pinnacle in North Carolina. It was interesting since this wasn't a planned experience, but one that just kind of fell in our lap. It was one of those life's little surprises that will have a profound effect on her forever.

She came home last night wide eyed and talkative — showing me card tricks, singing camp songs, telling me stories and in a short time I could see she was a changed child!

My reserved, shy and quiet little girl was now confident and adventurous. She told me all about how she climbed to the top of a rock, went hiking to the summit, shot a .22 rifle, bow and arrow and went mountain biking!

After tales of all her adventures she then declared that next year she wants to try one of their wilderness adventure trek camps in Alaska! Alaska? I just about fainted! Once I got off the floor, we started to talk about how she could make that happen for real.

Being money smart parents we know that if you work hard for something you appreciate its value more than if you are just given it.

Our talk centered around how she could raise money over the course of the year to attend something special like a camp in Alaska.

As you remember from my last post, my daughter and her girlfriend already have been working to buy some unknown thing later this summer -- so she's already learning about short term goals and savings.

While this adventure (and its costs) is way beyond that goal, I am happy to see that isn't stopping her! The first thing she said is that she could set up a camp fund, and for special occasions like Birthdays and Christmas people could contribute to that rather than give her a present.

She also suggested she could put part of her allowance aside each week into the camp fund. As she continued to make list and plans, my husband decided it would be a great time to teach her about investing and making your money grow.

Off he went to create and set up a "stock market" and teach her about buying stocks and bonds and having them make different amounts of money over time. He has come up with several companies for her to "invest" her money. Companies such as "The WaterMellon Spitting Factory," "The Snazzy Shoe Company," and so on. He said she can pick her stock and invest a portion of her money in each one. Dad is going to determine the percent and rate of return (of course financed by him)!

I'm not sure how this little plan is going to work, but it seems like a fun idea. It's great to see dad having fun with it, too! And, who knows -- this year next time my daughter may be Alaska bound!

What are your kids saving their money to purchase or acquire?

Lisa McCarthyLisa Laughton McCarthy is a mom with a passion! As the founder of MoneySmartKidz and author of "The Money Tree," Lisa, takes delight in finding fun creative ways to help show young children the value of financial independence! Her first book "The Money Tree," with its eye-catching illustrations, is the answer to every parent who wants to give their child a head start on the road to financial independence.

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