When we talk about the education we received in our early years, one of the most common criticisms is the lack of real-world practicality included in your average school curriculum. Of course, maths and science classes are essential learning, but what about financial education?
Sure, the odd PSHE day here and there might touch on money management tips, but instilling decent financial behaviours in our children still largely comes down to parents. Challenge accepted, you say? Let’s talk about how you can help your kids become more economically savvy.
Get ‘em while they’re young
It’s never too early to learn good financial sense, and the earlier you can start your kids on the journey to becoming responsible with their possessions, pocket money, and so on, the better. Probably the best thing you can do to begin is to talk openly about money with your kids, helping them to understand where it comes from, what we use it for, and why it’s important.
The lessons don’t need to be too deep and meaningful – far from it, in fact – but the sooner you can introduce money to them as an important concept, the more likely they are to heed the message in the long run.
Put them on the payroll
Talking of pocket money, what about getting the kids to earn their weekly spending by doing some chores for it. Nothing too hard going but teaching them that money needs to be earned, be it through making their bed on a day or doing the dishes occasionally, as a valuable lesson for working life in the future.
Just as you giveth as a parent, you can also taketh away. As adults, we know all too well that money can be lost just as quickly (if not more quickly) than it’s earned. And while your child isn’t likely to be dealing with the likes of parking tickets or credit card debt any time soon, misdemeanours like bad behaviour or not completing chores can be penalised with a 10p dent in the pocket money coffers – the lesson being that poor choice can often have financial consequences.
Progressively introduce more financial freedoms
As your kids get older, you can introduce more financial concepts to them that will theoretically build them up to being effectively economical as a young adult. Opening a bank account, for example, is a great stepping stone to experience more financial freedom and responsibility.
As you carry on, bring in areas like overdraft awareness, savings accounts, and tax obligations. This will help build their financial knowledge to a point where, when they’re released into the wild, you’re confident you’ve given them a solid financial foundation to make sensible decisions. It’s important that we’re raising the next generation to think carefully about how to manage their finances.
Teaching your kids money management tips needn’t be a big thing. As long as you keep an open conversation about money throughout their childhood and incorporate new teachings as they get older, you’ll stand them in good stead to head out into the real world.