How And When To Teach Your Kids About Money

By: Greg R Smith

As a child, money seems to somehow “grow on trees" as mum and dad always appear to have money to buy things.

Even though this is clearly not the case, it’s unfortunately the perception of children who live in a very consumer oriented world.

Rather than letting your child grow up thinking that money comes easily, you need to institute some form of education that teaches them how to understand and use money wisely.

Teach them young and they will carry forward that knowledge and live a better financial life. Here’s a few tips how :

From ages 3 - 7

1. Show them the value of money by explaining what $2 can and can't buy. It may be an idea to do this whilst walking down the super market aisle or toy aisle (if you are game!).

2. Let them watch you pay for things. You may even start by letting them hand over the cash or pressing the OK button on the ATM.

3. Do not give them notes. Pay their pocket money in coins as your children need to understand how to allocate their money.

4. Show them how to visualise their goals. Get them to draw what they want to save up for. Keep the goals realistic otherwise they will very quickly lose interest.

What they learn -

• Different things have different values.
• Money simply doesn't grow on trees and that you have to work for your money.
• You have to allocate your money for different things

From ages 7 - 12

1. Encourage them to participate in the school banking programme. This will give them a sense of regular commitment to savings.

2. Get them interested in looking at their bank statements and following how much money they are saving. This will get them used to scanning banking paperwork.

3. Get them to start thinking of a long term saving goal and work out how long it will take them to reach that goal.

4. Give them a combination of notes and coins for their pocket money. This will really strengthen their allocation abilities and efficient usage of spare change.

5. Start showing them the family bills and explain positively that the bills have to be paid to keep the family going.

What they will learn –
• Saving is a planned activity and something that needs a bit of thought rather that just putting away what's left over.
• The value of small change
• It takes a fair bit of money and good money management skills to keep a roof over their head.

For Teenagers

1. Encourage them to set up their own bank account and use internet banking.

2. Direct debit their pocket money into their account. This will get them used to dealing with intangible payments, and that electronic money is not just a set of numbers.

3. Make them responsible for their own bills such as mobiles. This is a very quick way to teach them how to spend wisely.

4. Try not to lend money to them for purchases that are of an extravagant nature. If they really want it, encourage them to get a part time job to save up enough. If you do loan money to them, do so only on the grounds that you will reduce the amount of their pocket money until the loan is paid.

5. Charge them board if they have a part time job - this will start getting them into the habit of paying their way for things they take for granted - like food and shelter!!

6. Introduce them to the concept of return on investment. Show them the value of putting some of their money into high interest savings accounts or even into managed investments.

7. Highlight the fact that if they start now they will be so much better off down the track.

What they learn –

• Not only will they learn more modern and more efficient banking techniques they will also learn how to curb their wants, or find ways to earn rather than going into debt for something that is not totally necessary.

• It takes money to create money.

Parenting
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