We need to talk about financial literacy: things your kids should know

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We live in a strange world where, unfortunately, not many people have learned to master the skill to properly manage their own finances. Personal financial literacy encompasses a range of money topics, from everyday skills such as balancing a checkbook – to long-term planning for retirement. Although there is a movement to include more finance-related coursework in elementary, middle and high school settings – parents and guardians are the primary educators when it comes to teaching children to be financially competent.

Teaching children about financial stability and responsibilities can not only help them in their future when they lead their own personal lives, it is a great potential to change the country’s financial situation. When a generation comes along which has been properly educated about money, it means that the economy can get a very much needed boost.

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The important thing to remember is: don’t shy away from talking to kids about money. Even if you lack in confidence in how you handle your own finances, you still possess invaluable experience and perspective that you can bestow on your children. In fact, you can get to work them in order by taking advice from bookkeepers in Ultimo which can help you solve those problems, and become a positive role model for them. Children as young as 3-years-old can begin to grasp the concept of saving and spending money by simply turning your day-to-day activities into learning experiences. Every trip to the bank, store or the ATM machine can be turned into a valuable lesson.

Your children can learn to save money from a very young age if you have the right approach. They’re not usually keen on spending all the money the same moment they get it, so that’s an incredible opportunity to teach them about what they could do with the money if they saved it. The important aspect of this lesson is that they get the sense of gratification for something they bought after some time has passed (while they were saving). It’s also a good way of preventing your child of becoming an impulse buyer – try not to let them spend all their money at once, no matter how much they wanted that.

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Another example of teaching children to have a realistic approach to money is to avoid telling them you can’t afford something. Children don’t usually grasp where money is coming from; therefore they won’t understand the reasons behind that statement. Instead, tell them exactly what the money is for: for example, it has been set aside for groceries, and groceries only, and if you buy a toy or candy – then you won’t be able to cook them their favorite lunch. With that comes the talk about priorities – what comes first, and what things come as a luxury or a treat that needs to be well-deserved.

Don’t let your children become misled by what they hear from outside their home or from peers – many children often spread misinformation that can be detrimental to your teachings. Some might even say that rich people are lucky for example – which can be harmful to their opinion. If your child believes that wealth is a result of luck, then they won’t have the right motivations to handle money responsibly. Teach them that only hard work and making smart decisions make people wealthy.

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As your child matures into a teenager, you should have already established the basic principles of saving money and being financially responsible. At this point, you can open them a bank account, and it may be a good idea to give your teen a basic credit card. Teach your teenager about saving long term and how interest affects them both with their savings and their spending. It may also be a good idea to let them take some accounting lessons. It won’t be long before your child ventures into the adult world and leaves the nest, so they should be all set when it comes to being financially responsible.

We need to talk about financial literacy: things your kids should know - financially savvy teen image

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By teaching your children about money, you help them discover the relationships between earning, spending and saving. In doing this, children also begin to understand the value of money. Don’t wait too long to teach your child the basics of managing money, because it will thank you later in the future.

How to make your kids into good financial managers

How to make your kids into good financial managers

These days, kids are getting into debt early. We’ve all heard the stories about students racking up thousands of dollars worth of debt and this can start even earlier when kids are in their teens. With credit card companies offering sweet deals as soon as kids are old enough to sign, it’s no surprise that so many are ending up in debt. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As parents we can do our part to teach children financial responsibility from a very young age. Here are some tips.

Get them a piggy bank

If kids are old enough to get money, then they are old enough to start saving. Get your kids a piggy bank so that they can start saving up the spare change they get from you, the presents from grandma and any cash that comes their way. Encourage them to put most of the money in the piggy bank and leave it there. That gets them started with the habit of saving money. After a while though, the piggy bank will get full and that’s when you move to the next stage.

View a selection of our favourite Piggy Banks

Get them a bank account

Your child is never too young to have a bank account even if you have to take responsibility for it at the start. You can make it into a big event to empty the piggy bank every so often, count up the money and deposit it in a bank account. Your child will enjoy seeing the bank balance grow even if he or she has no idea what to do with it yet.

The saving habit

Kids always want stuff so encourage them to take some financial responsibility. When they get money they can allocate some of it towards buying a treasured purchase, as long as they save most of it. Some parents use the matched funding method, where if a child is able to save half the purchase price the parent will pay the rest. This works well for younger kids with less earning potential.

The earning habit

Encourage your kids to do odd jobs to earn pocket money or boost their savings for a planned purchase. Having to earn the money themselves will give them a greater appreciation of what it takes to get it and they are less likely to fritter it away. This is one rule that you may want to apply with care because you have to make the distinction between the jobs that are regular household responsibilities and those which have earning potential.

Take them shopping

There’s nothing to teach your kids the value of money then taking them shopping with you so they can see exactly how much the products you buy cost. This also helps them to compare the relative costs of different brands so when they are older and go out on their own they won’t get a nasty shock. It’s also worth letting them see you comparison shop for household utilities. Let them celebrate with you when you get a cheap broadband deal or save money on electricity.

Encourage financial caution

This is one area where you can lead by example. Let your kids see that where possible you spend no more than you earn. Where you do need to buy something on credit you don’t spend excessively and you do repay it as soon as possible to avoid racking up high interest charges. Letting your kids understand the thinking behind your own money management practices is the best way to help them avoid a future debt trap.

 Celebrate entrepreneurship

There’s more to managing money than simply avoiding debt. Sometimes you have to find innovative ways of making money. So when your kids want to set up a lemonade stand or start a vegetable delivery business, help them to plan and achieve it. However it turns out, they will learn a lot from the experience which will help them manage money well throughout their lives.

Build skills gradually

When children get used to having a savings account, let them move to a checking account once they are old enough. Also consider a debit card or prepaid debit card before allowing them to have a credit card. If you are going to give your kid a credit card then explain how credit works, how interest works and why they need to pay on time. Backed by the other lessons you have given them they will soon be adept at managing their own money.

 

6 lessons to teach your kids how to stay away from debts in future

Many parents are not particularly inclined to discuss their debt and finance related issues with their kids. As an invariable result, kids remain unaware of crucial financial factors like debt management, savings, account dealings and face severe difficulty to handle these matters in the long run. There are certain skills and habits which every child needs to learn and develop from an early age. Financial discipline is one of them. If your kids come to know how to effectively spend, save and survive today, they can surely attain a better financial future tomorrow. Follow the instructions given below and provide your children the basic knowledge required to stay out of debt in future.

  • ‘Children need models more than they need critics’. The first lesson of money management to kids starts when their parents are not even aware of it.  Kids follow the footsteps of their elders blindly. Manage your finances well and spend your money wisely to set a perfect example to them. To stay out of debt spend within your limits. To teach your kids the difference between wants and needs, live frugally. Being frugal does not mean spending no money at all; it means think before you buy, and wait to buy until you can afford it.
  • Discuss your financial issues with your children. No matter how complicated your financial status are, attempt to make some simple bed time stories with them. Do not evade or ignore any of their queries, answer them clearly. Show them how you pay your due bills and how the ATM, checking accounts or credit cards works.
  • Make your children financially responsible by letting them spend money on their own. Of course, you are there to guide them but, make sure your child grow up making some of their own financial decisions as well. Let them commit mistakes and learn the lessons from them. If needed, confide in them your financial blunders in the past. In this way you may not be able to stop them completely from making any mistakes but at least they will be less likely to repeat these mistakes as adults.
  • Take into account your kid’s feedback and suggestions while you are planning your budget. This will give them an overall idea about the price list and monthly expenses. Make sure it should not make them feel guilty or upset for costing you so much.
  • Young kids love to collect and save pennies, present them with a piggy bank to indulge in this habit. For teen kids you better open a savings account and let him watch it grow. It will generate a sense of interest and excitement in them and they will put more efforts and hard work to save in these accounts. Excitement and anticipation both are essential to make your child keener to save money.
  • Start giving your child a weekly or monthly allowance from an early age. Instruct them not only to manage their weekly expenses within limited means but also to save a portion of it. Trigger their emotions by teaching them to donate a portion of their savings to people who are less fortunate.

All these above mentioned points are lifelong ways to teach your kids about money management. When your child becomes old enough to ask for toys or candy, it means they’re old enough to learn some lessons of financial awareness as well. As soon as they learn to count, you can start imparting your basic lessons about spending and saving. Remember the sooner they learn these lessons and apply them to their lives, it is better for their financial well being.

 

Why we should be teaching kids about money

In this short video interview I was asked to describe why it’s so important to teach kids about money and the unique approach of Financial Fairy Tales in making financial literacy fun for younger children.

Please enjoy and add your comments below

Why isn’t Financial Education Taught in Schools

If ever there was a time for better financial education then surely it is now? When you look at the state of many of the economies around the world it’s a mystery why financial education is not compulsory schools. It is easy to blame banks, big business or governments for the current climate but it is the education of individuals that need to change.

This article looks at some of the arguments for and against mandatory financial education.

Why isn't Financial Education Taught in Schools imageAt school, we may have learned some skills necessary to get a job, but nobody tells us how to create or manage our wealth. If we cannot educate ourselves on ways to obtain and retain our money, we are headed for a future financial disaster.

In the USA, individual debt is growing 23 times faster than the economy. It is a similar situation in many other developed nations, for example the credit card debt in the UK is over £220bn or an average of £3175 per person. Thousands of college graduates who have invested in their education are facing a student loan crisis. The job market is shrinking, and the sour economy is preventing employers, parents and relatives from helping those who are behind on payments,” USA Today reports. “Student loan defaults are at their highest rate since 1998, and likely will go higher” People are even losing their homes and have no money to retire on. It is estimated that the average person today will require $ 1.5 million by 65 years of age to retire comfortably.

Some argue that a better way to teach children about money is in the home, which may have its merits but may create something of a vicious circle: when parents are financially illiterate — they’re not likely to teach their kids very well, are they? Which means that the minority of people, who are smart about money, will (potentially), raise kids who are also smart, while for the rest the cycle will continue.

Another argument put forward against financial education in schools, centres on the twin pillars of lack of time and lack of money. School curricula are already crowded places and a significant financial education programme would have to come at the expense of something already in place. Few teachers would have the necessary competence and confidence to deliver such programmes without the need for additional training and resourcing.

These arguments may be countered by providing financial education online or via other media accessible to students, and indeed their parents, 24/7. Young people will spend hours studying independently for subjects with a real personal interest, playing an instrument, making a social media page or learning to drive for example.
Funding may not be such an easy nut to crack but there are existing projects sponsored by banks and financial institutions around the world. Dissenting voices would point out however that if it was the banks that got us into this mess are they the best influence to help educate the next generation? Governments may also see the longer term benefits of providing financial education as saving them the money they may otherwise have to spend on social security in the future.

In conclusion it would appear that there is a growing tide of public opinion supporting the need for better financial education, which in my opinion should at least begin in schools. The debate will continue as to who should deliver what and when but in the meantime, parents and young people themselves can take a proactive approach and seek the resources currently available.

A great source for younger children is The Financial Fairy Tales series of award winning books, which introduce money principles and awareness via entertaining and engaging stories.