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Conversation Starters: How can money buy happiness?

Children receive mixed messages about money.  Frankly, so do adults.  Discussing money in your classroom can be more controversial than discussing religion, so be warned that today’s conversation starter may provoke discomfort.

April is financial literacy month.  In preparation, let’s start discussing how to use money to promote happiness.  Today ask your students:

Who do you think is happier: people who spend money on things or people who spend money on events?

Nudge them to consider their own experiences pursuing objects to make them happy versus enjoying experiences.  This question is a great opportunity for students to practice their compare and contrast skills.   See if you can get all of them to recognize the pros and cons of both expenditures.

Objective:  The goal is to help them to understand what works to make them happiest and why.  With clarity about how they become happiest, they are better equipped to lead happier lives as adults.  By requiring students to consider pros and cons of both types of purchases, you encourage them to recognize the merits of the choices of others.

For your reluctant students, try this prompt:

If I gave you $100 right now and I told you that you had to make a single purchase which would make you happy for the next month, what would you spend the money on?

For younger kids ask them a more specific question: Do you prefer getting a toy?  Or, spending time doing _____ activity (going to the playground, riding your bike, playing dress-up)?

Let me know what they come up with!


– AK


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