Financial Education for the Family: For Kids 8 & Under

Think back on your own childhood experiences with money. Did your parents talk about money with you or did they refuse to utter the m-word? Worse, did they fight about money? 

Your conversations about money might have affected how you talk to your kids about money. Check out a quick tutorial about how to talk to kids about money. We’ve divided it up by age range and also put a small section about how to talk to your spouse or partner about money as well. 

These conversations will pave the way for your kids’ — and your own — excellent financial habits.

Financial Conversations to Have with Kids Under 5 

You can start talking to kids about money as soon as they understand what it is! Try these conversation starters:

  • “We use money to buy things at the grocery store.” 
  • “We go to the bank to save our money, and you can get a Smarties candy when we go.”
  • “We save our money in your savings account. When Grandma gives you money for your birthday, we put it in a savings account (or your college fund at UNest).” 

Answer any questions your kids have after they respond to your conversation starter. The earlier you start teaching them about smart money management, the better. They listen to what you say — and repeat it — no matter how young they are!

Financial Conversations to Have with Kids 5 to 8 

Kids at this age can understand that you have to earn money: “Mom and Dad go to work to earn money so that we can buy you groceries and clothes.” 

You can also teach them the difference between needs and wants, how to use debit and credit cards and online banking, keep track of spending and saving, and the meaning of lending and borrowing.

  • You may also want to talk to kids about advertisements and how they try to target kids. Talk kids through how just because they see a product online or on TV doesn’t mean that the product is a good product.
  • Kids who get an allowance or earn money when they do chores or rake leaves for a neighbor, kids get a sense of how much they can earn related to the amount of work they do.
  • At this age, you can also start to introduce compounding. You can introduce this complicated concept by having your children put their own money in a clear jar and you can add money to show them how money grows when they invest it (and don’t spend it). 

Kids at this age understand that they can spend their money and now’s the time to start developing healthy decisions. They may need help to determine how to save and how to spend (and to save up for things they really want). 

  • A spending jar
  • A savings jar for long-term savings goals (like a bike or iPad)
  • A giving jar for charitable giving

Until now, children tend to learn about money by watching what you do with it. You can easily start to get kids more involved in money conversations at this age.




College Savings Calculator is a hypothetical tool that demonstrates how monthly contributions, age-based asset rebalancing, and tax savings may impact the long-term value of your account, and do not take into account a portfolio’s underlying investment management fees. Calculations assume the private institution cost inflation is 2.8%, public out of state cost inflation is 3.9%, public in state cost inflation is 2.7%. Portfolio is assumed to have only stocks and bonds. Monthly equity returns are based on the historical data from the 10-year track record of the stock market (SPY). Monthly fixed income returns are based on the historical data from the 10-year track record of the bond market index (AGG). The current college expenses are provided by the Actual account performance may differ due to market fluctuations, changes in recurring investments, and asset allocation. The information provided here is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent actual or future performance of any investment option and is not intended to predict or project the investment performance of any security or index.

Ksenia Yudina, CFA, MBA

Founder and CEO

Ksenia is the Founder and CEO of U-Nest, the first mobile app that makes it easy for families to save for college. As an entrepreneur and finance professional, Ksenia has focused on alleviating the impact of student debt on families across the economic spectrum. Previously, Ksenia was a Vice President atCapital Group/American Funds, the largest 529 provider in the U.S. In this role, she played a leadership role in helping parents plan and manage their finances, with a focus on the future well-being of their children. Prior to Capital Group/American Funds, she was founder of a residential real estate company. Ksenia earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from CaliforniaState University Northridge, and an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.

Mike Van Kempen

Chief Operating Officer

Mike joined U-Nest in September 2019 as COO. He was previously at Acorns, a financial wellness platform, where he spearheaded the analytics and growth initiatives. Mike successfully expandedAcorns’ paid acquisition strategy, adding over 4.5 million investment accounts. Mike began his career in strategy & analytics at Belly, a Chicago-based loyalty startup in 2012. At Belly, Mike led projects that fueled growth across all aspects of the business, growing the customer base from1,000 to over 11,000 merchants, and accumulating a membership of over 2 million customers.Mike holds a B.B.A. in Finance from Loyola University of Chicago.

Steve Buchanan

Chief Technology Officer

Steve has over 20 years of experience in delivering digital innovations in the financial sector. Steve previously orchestrated product architecture and innovation as a Solutions Architect/ Fintech consultant at Union Bank. Prior to Union Bank, he was Chief Architect and Director of Engineering at Calypso, a Silicon Valley startup, where he architected and built multiple financial solutions. He was also Head of Global Integrations at Globe One in Vietnam where he integrated its Peer-to-Peer lending products into core banking solutions. Steve also built the first ever electronic Equities &Equity Options trading systems for Scottish stock brokers Wood Mackenzie (acquired by CountyNatWest). He is a graduate of Edinburgh University.

Peter Mansfield

Chief Marketing Officer

Peter has built an impressive track record in multiple financial industry segments including payments, credit/prepaid cards and lending. He has played an instrumental role at a succession of financial industry leaders, co-founding companies such as Brand3 (acquired by American Express) and PropertyBridge (acquired by Moneygram), and, as the early stage marketing lead at Marqeta (where he was team member number two), BillFloat and WallabyFinancial (acquired by Bankrate).He has helped fast-growth companies reach an aggregate market value of close to $8 billion. Peter holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Angila, UK.

Sonya Kidman

Client Relationship Manager

Sonya Kidman is a Customer Success professional with a decade of experience in advocating for consumer through user research and genuine empathy. Sonya specializes in user behavior and regularly attends national and global training sessions in wellness and people analytics tools. Sonya is a true global citizen was born in Russia, grew up in Israel, lived and worked in Canada and NewZealand. That global expertise along with an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Tel AvivUniversity have helped to shape a bullet-prof Sonya's framework to develop a winning customer strategy.

Frank Mastrangelo

Board Member

One part banker and one part technologist, Frank spent his early days with the Annenberg Foundation and PNC Bank. His career path led him to Jefferson Bank, where he led the build-out of its electronic banking platforms, and where he would forge a powerful alliance with The Bancorp co-founder Betsy Z. Cohen. As President and COO of The Bancorp from its inception in 1999 Frank played a critical role in helping the organization become an industry bellwether for branchless financial services and a global leader in payments. For this, he has become a widely respected fintech expert, and thought-leader. Frank was recognized in 2013 by Banking Innovation, a leading industry journal, as an “Innovator to Watch.” and as one of the innovators shaping the future of banking. Frank is a graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania.