Money Lessons for Children
Money makes the world go round, so they say.
If it does, why are children not taught about money at school?
Over the past few months, there has been a lot of talk about financial education. This has largely centred around convincing people that they need to plan for their future or face a life of poverty in retirement.
Is it any wonder that many adults don’t know much about money when they have inherited the poor financial skills and practices of their parents? There is a danger that the “Buy now, pay later” mentality will become deeply ingrained in our society, just like other social issues.
I started to think about this whilst on a Christmas shopping trip with my eldest son (he is 10) in early December. We were in a toy store and he asked me if I would buy him something. I said no as it was very expensive and that we weren’t shopping for him. He suggested that I put it on my card as it was expensive. I had to explain that I would still have to pay for an item when I used my card and took the time to explain the difference between a debit and credit card.
Since then, he has asked more questions and I have enjoyed explaining some basic concepts. Though it has, at times, not been easy going, I am convinced of the benefits of teaching my three sons (aged four, eight and ten) the mechanics of money.
How young should we start and what can you teach them? Well, I’ve now started with all three and it helps just using some basic money vocabulary. The following is what we started with. If you’d like to use this with your own children, we’ve produced a PDF ‘lesson’ of this content here.
Where money comes from
Money is earned. Mum and Dad get paid for going to work. The money gets paid into Mum and Dad’s bank account.
A place that helps us safely store, organise and manage our money.
The fact that they may have to save and wait to buy something that they want . A savings goal has three elements:
- What you want to buy
- When you want to buy it
- How much it will cost at that time
Just a way to pay for items. We write a note to our bank asking them to send our money to someone to pay for items we have purchased.
Simply a note asking us for money for an item we have purchased.
An amount of money that is added to money you have saved in the bank or may have borrowed.
Money that is borrowed and expected to be repaid, usually with added interest.
A large loan, used to purchase the home we live in and repaid over a long period.
Money that we pay to the government (the people who are in charge of the country) to help pay for the things that we use like the roads, hospitals and police force.
My eldest has now taken a real interest and grasped these basic concepts. He is now asking me about my job and what I do for a living. That is a subject for another day and I will leave the topics of investment, asset allocation, shares and cash flow until then.
Now, some might argue that I’ve gone too far, but I disagree. We are quick to talk to our children about sex, drugs and Internet security, so why not money? Is it such a taboo subject?
This isn’t a one-off conversation either. It is a discussion that can be developed over time to help our children make smart financial decisions and to avoid burdening themselves with debts they may otherwise accumulate.
Is it not a responsibility that any sensible parent should take on?
By Damien Rylett. Damien is Managing Director of Brunel Capital Partners, a financial planning firm based in Bristol. He is passionate about seeing clients achieve their life goals through comprehensive financial planning. His time outside work is spent with his wife Clare and three young boys. You can follow Damien on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.