A Kid’s Guide to the Financial System

Dustin Lemick


Dustin Lemick


Money makes the world go around. It’s something we use every day to buy things we need and want. Have you ever considered the origin of money, though? And do you understand how the financial system works? The world of finance can be complicated, even for adults, but it’s important to have a basic understanding that can help you manage your money.

A Brief History of Money and the Barter System

Before there was money, people conducted direct exchanges of goods and services. This approach is known as bartering. For instance, in order to purchase clothing from a tailor, a farmer would need to give the tailor some of their harvest. This system was difficult because it could be hard to figure out what the relative value of different things was: How much wheat is a shirt worth? How many gallons of milk should it take to buy a vest? It could also be a problem if you didn’t have something the other person wanted to trade them. The invention and use of money made it easier for people to buy and sell things.

Goods and Services

We buy and sell goods and services on a daily basis. Clothing, toys, and food are examples of tangible goods, things that we are able to touch and feel. Services include things like haircuts, auto repairs, and doctor’s appointments, things that individuals do for us. When we make a purchase, we trade our money for goods or services.


The form of money used in a nation is called its currency. Currency can come in paper form or as metal coins. In the United States, the national currency is the dollar. When we travel to other countries, we must exchange our money for the local currency so we can buy things there.

Assets: Investments and Insured

An asset is anything we own that is valuable. Houses and cars are examples of tangible assets. Stocks and bonds are examples of intangible assets.

When we make investments in assets, we expect their value to rise over time. This is how investors make money; it’s known as a return on investment. But investing always has an element of risk. It’s important to do your research before you buy stock in a company or invest money in another way to give yourself the best odds of choosing a good investment.

One way to guard against loss or harm to our assets is through insurance. For instance, home insurance shields our home from fire or theft, while automobile insurance covers our vehicle in the event of an accident. We pay a charge known as a premium when we purchase insurance. If something were to happen to our property, the insurance provider would reimburse us for any losses or damages.


We occasionally have to take out loans to purchase large items like cars or houses. A loan is a contract to borrow money. Typically, a bank will provide the loan, and the borrower will agree to repay the loan over a predetermined period of time. Borrowers also need to pay interest, which is how the bank makes money on the loan.


Bonds are sort of like reverse loans: An investor buys a bond, giving that money to the government or a business, and then when the bond matures, the investor gets their initial investment back along with interest. Since their value fluctuates less than that of stocks, bonds are seen as more secure investments than stocks.

Financial Risk

Different amounts of risk come along with different kinds of investing. For instance, if you make investments in the stock exchange, the market value of your shares may increase or decrease based on a number of variables, including corporate performance, the state of the economy, and current events. As a result, there is a chance that you could lose money if the value of your stocks declines.

Risk isn’t solely associated with stock market investing. Numerous other financial choices also include a certain amount of risk. For instance, if you take out a loan, you run the risk of not being able to pay it back. And if you start a business, it could fail.

One of the most important things you can do to minimize financial risk is to make informed choices. Do your research before deciding to invest money, make a big purchase, or make any other decisions that could possibly lead to financial losses. For instance, if you’re considering stock market investment, you should do your homework on the companies you’re interested in.

Diversification is another strategy for risk management. This means that you should divide your investments among different types so you won’t lose everything if one investment performs poorly.

Insurance is another tool for controlling financial risk. For instance, if you have auto insurance and are in a car crash, your insurance provider will cover the costs of the repairs.

Even though all financial moves have a certain amount of risk, we shouldn’t let that stop us from making them. We just need to make well-informed decisions and do our best to minimize risk.

Dustin Lemick


Dustin Lemick

Dustin Lemick is the Founder and CEO of BriteCo and a third-generation jeweler with over thirteen years of retail jewelry experience. He holds a Graduate Gemologist degree from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has in-depth knowledge and expertise in appraisal systems, diamond and gemstone markets, retail pricing models, insurance replacement models, and jewelry quotation pricing systems.