Credit Cards Not a Game

To children, credit and debit cards aren't as real as money they can see and feel. To learn basic money skills, they need to get their hands on cold hard cash.

Later this year Hasbro will introduce a new version of its classic Game of Life that replaces play money with a Visa-branded card (see A Skewed Take on Life).

That's too bad. Not only does the new "Twists & Turns" edition ($35) advertise a company logo to kids as young as 9, but it also cancels out the hands-on value of the original game: Kids could feel the pleasure of collecting a salary, or the pain of paying for college, by piling up or depleting stacks of money.

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Janet Bodnar

Janet Bodnar is editor-at-large of Kiplinger's Personal Finance, a position she assumed after retiring as editor of the magazine after eight years at the helm. She is a nationally recognized expert on the subjects of women and money, children's and family finances, and financial literacy. She is the author of two books, Money Smart Women and Raising Money Smart Kids. As editor-at-large, she writes two popular columns for Kiplinger, "Money Smart Women" and "Living in Retirement." Bodnar is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and is a member of its Board of Trustees. She received her master's degree from Columbia University, where she was also a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism.