Yesterday, I was sitting on the couch, laptop on lap, cartoons blaring and my daughter asked me a question. I honestly can’t even remember what it was, but my answer had the word “mortgage” in it. She nodded like she understood and went back to watching her cartoons. I could have let the moment pass and gone back to whatever I was doing. But I didn’t…

“Do you know what a mortgage is?” I asked.

“No.” she replied.

“Well, houses are very very expensive and lots of people don’t have enough money to buy one. So the bank will give them the money and they have to pay it back. Does that make sense?”

She nodded and I didn’t know if she understood, or if she was even listening. But later that night, out of nowhere, she said…

“When I get big I’m going to have the bank help me buy a house.”

“Cool.” I said giggling.

“How do you do that?”

“Well, you have to ask them if they will help you. And then they either say yes, or no.”

“And then what?”

“Well, if they say yes then the bank gives the person who is selling the house the money. And they send you a bill every month and you have to pay them back a little bit every month.”

“And what if you don’t want to have the bank help you?”

“Then you have to give all the money to the person selling the house by yourself.”

At first I thought 6 years old might be too young to start talking about mortgages. I mean, jeeze, she doesn’t even understand the concept of change yet. But clearly she did get something out of it. She was still thinking about it hours later. I didn’t want to get all crazy and talk about interest and down payments so I left that part out. I want so badly for her to understand all the ins and outs of personal finance, and I want her to understand it early. Early enough that she can keep herself out of trouble before she even earns her first dollar.

I want to get back to the concept of change real quick: The other day she bought herself a little something with her allowance and she got about 80 cents in change. We were walking out to the car and she said “Wohoo, I’m getting rich!” as she put her change into her pocket. lol. Clearly I have more work to do!

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