The Latest Advice

Tom Henske is making moves and headlines in the realm of financial literacy, for kids and adults. Learn the latest here.

Liquid error: Nil location provided. Can't build URI.

The ABC's of Taxes: A parent's guide to raising financially savvy kids

blog finances for kids finances for parents taxes Oct 19, 2023

Hello parents! Today, we're diving into a topic that's often considered complex and intimidating—taxes. But don't worry, we're here to simplify it for you and your kids. After all, at Total Cents, we believe that understanding taxes is not just a skill but a crucial life lesson. So, let's get started!

Why Taxes Matter

Taxes are more than just a financial obligation; they're a civic duty. They fund essential services like education, healthcare, and public safety. Yet, our educational system often overlooks this vital subject, leaving young adults unprepared for the real world. As parents, you have the unique opportunity to fill this educational void and prepare your children for a financially secure future.

Types of Taxes for Kids to Know

Income Tax

Teach your kids about tax brackets and the concept of "take-home pay." For instance, if they earn $20,000 a year from a part-time job, not all of it is going into their pocket. Some will be taxed, and it's crucial to understand how much.

Sales Tax

Next time you're shopping, show your kids the receipt. Point out the sales tax and explain how it affects the total cost. This is a great way to introduce budgeting skills.

Property Tax

If you own a home, involve your kids when you pay your property taxes. Explain how they fund local services like schools and fire departments.

Common Misconceptions

Gross vs. Net Income

Make sure your kids understand that their gross income is not what they'll actually take home. Taxes, Social Security, and other deductions come into play.

Check out this IG post for a quick tutorial on Gross vs. Net Income

Tax Brackets

Many people think moving to a higher tax bracket means all their income will be taxed at that higher rate. Clarify that only the income within that bracket is taxed at the higher rate.

Practical Ways to Teach Your Kids

  • Gamification: Use interactive online resources like the Intuit TurboTax Simulation to make learning about taxes not so daunting.
  • Real-world Exercises: Involve your kids in everyday activities that include taxes, like shopping or discussing the family budget.
  • Ethical Considerations: Discuss the ethical aspects of taxes. Is it fair to minimize taxes through legal loopholes? While it's legal, is it ethical?


Understanding taxes is a crucial life skill that often goes overlooked. As parents, you have the unique opportunity to fill this gap. From explaining the basics to diving into ethical considerations, there's a wealth of knowledge to impart. By taking a proactive approach, you're setting your children on a path toward financial independence and responsibility.

Let's shape a generation of financially savvy individuals, together!

Check out additional resources from Total Cents for teaching your kids about taxes.

Get news from Total Cents in your inbox.

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Total Cents, 606 Post Road East, Westport, CT, 06880, US, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the unsubscribe link, found at the bottom of every email.


Teaching parents how to talk to their kids about money.


About the Author →

The Latest News →

Become A Partner →


See All 12 Lessons →

Listen To The Podcast →

Contact Tom Henske →

Interested in learning more?

It Makes Total Cents.