The COR Prism: Teaching Kids the 5 Pillars of Smart Money Behavior

all ages allowance elementary-aged financial literacy high school-aged middle school-aged spend save invest donate
The COR Prism

By Alec Lindenauer, COR Chief Allowance Officer

Navigating the back-to-school rush? This is a great time of year to commit (or recommit) to teaching our kids good financial habits.

As my kids get ready for school in a few weeks, I’ve been thinking about some of the live webinars I’ve done for parents recently. One was called How Allowance Can Change Your Family’s Financial Destiny Forever. (A lofty title, I know … But it’s also true.)

During that presentation, I said, “When done right, allowance can be the platform for practicing good financial habits.”

But what exactly are good financial habits? Quickly defined, they are those activities that mindfully and effectively move us to a healthy financial future.

Yeah, I realize … that’s still a bit of a mouthful. (I’m working on it.)

To simplify, the choices we make with our money today ripple into our tomorrow. The sooner we empower our children with these choices, the sharper their financial decisions will become. And how do we empower them? By giving them opportunities to practice.

This isn’t just me talking. The science says so, which is why I wrote about research on this a few months ago. In short, kids learn about money through experiential practice opportunities at home more than through any other source.

But what are the specific activities our kids should be practicing?

To illustrate, I give you the COR Prism. Drumroll please …


The five money activities in this prism are the key activities to focus on with your child in order to improve their financial habits: Spend, Save, Invest, Donate and Borrow.

Quite simply, these interconnected activities encompass what we can each do with our money.. Imagine these as the roots and stems of a flourishing plant, representing your child's blooming financial wisdom. That’s why you see a growing plant in the middle … Yup, that’s your child growing up before your very eyes.

Very few days go by where we as adults don’t perform one of these money activities. And as your child gets older, they too will engage in one or more of these activities daily.

If you’re not actively engaging your child with practice opportunities in these five areas, I highly encourage you to do so. And if you need some help, check out our COR Parent Resources page … that’s what it’s there for!

And if you would like some more structured guidance, our K-7 Starter Course offers parents and caregivers a step-by-step way to give your child hands-on practice with money and the foundation for a solid financial future.


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