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(NBC NEWS) -- When it comes to people managing -- or mismanaging -- money, financial experts are sounding the alarm.

They say it was a major contributor to the financial crisis.

That's why there's a new push to get parents to teach their children the virtues of basic finance -- and to start while they're very young.

"Children can really start to understand financial concepts, basic financial concepts, as early as kindergarten," says financial expert Farnoosh Torabi.

"And why not lay out coins and teach them and value of each one, and dollars," says Trae Bodge of RetailMeNot.com. "And as they get to be 5 or 6, open up a savings account for them."

Experts advise letting children watch as you open the account. Use regular shopping trips to teach the difference between needs, wants and wishes.

"How much do things cost, and not only how much do things cost, but what do you have to do to afford things?" Torabi says. "You have to work."

Torabi says as soon as children start school, they start noticing the difference that money makes.

"Keeping up with the Joneses doesn't start when you're 25," Torabi says. "It starts when you are 10, 8, 6. You see things and you want them and you don't understand why you can't have them."

The non-profit Junior Achievement even has downloadable material on its website to help children make the most of their money. Download the material here.

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