Financial literacy skills are one of the greatest gifts we can give our children, to understand money and have control of their financial futures. Whether you are lacking in financial literacy skills yourself or would rather watch paint dry than sit down with your kids to talk money, you probably aren’t alone. Peter Crellen explains that talking to your kids about money doesn’t have to be boring and he has a few tips to get you started.
Stress! That’s what personal finance means to Australians. With personal finance being the number one cause of stress, impacting 49% of us, we have to ask ourselves, can we make life better for our kids?
As a father of three crazy boys, my wife and I often discuss our hopes for their financial futures. The agreement is always quite simple, just be better than we were. We want our kids to be generous, enjoy whatever career they choose, be able to afford a home and importantly, live comfortably without financial stress.
They say it takes a village to raise kids, and that’s true. Schools play a part and the inclusion of financial literacy in the curriculum, through the use of the ASIC MoneySmart program, is a positive piece of the puzzle. Independent, non-bank tools are also available to help, such as apps like Spriggy which allows you to support your kid’s learning in a controlled environment. As parents, there are so many things we can do at home.
Talk about money
Money can be a taboo subject, but how can we expect our kids to learn if we don’t talk about it often and openly. We want to explore the concepts of earning, saving, giving and spending – wisely.
A great introduction for children of all ages is to discuss how much an item costs in a currency they can understand – time. How many days does mum or dad have to work for the TV or to go on holiday?
An early introduction to budgeting is also easy to do. Grab some Monopoly money to represent your salary, as let’s face it, we don’t have real cash on us anymore. Now sit down with the kids and ask them to list off all the things that cost money. As you go through the list move the money over to show them where it all goes and how much is left for the fun things in life. As the kids get older, let them be involved in your budget and make decisions that impact all of you.
Let them make mistakes
That brings us to one of the most important aspects of financial literacy – experience. Whether you use chores as an earning tool, or simply give your kids pocket money, allow them to experience money on a regular basis and make their own decisions on what they do with their money.
As a rule, give your kids a dollar for every year of age, so at 10, they get $10 per week. While we should encourage that a portion is saved, a portion is given and the rest available to spend, allow them to decide what happens. If your kids blow it all in the first week, great, they will quickly learn that once the money is gone, there is no more until next week.
As your kids get older, a great trick is to spread pocket money payments to a fortnightly schedule to help them understand a more realistic experience and force them to budget. Also, you can start to give them more responsibility by providing all their money to manage their complete budget; lunches, transport and even haircuts.
Goals are an important motivation tool that helps kids focus on what they want and experience delayed gratification. With the rise of payday lending and bad consumer debt, it’s one of the most important skills to build. Visual goals help, so make sure you get a picture of that desired item in front of them.
Make it relevant and fun
Kids aren’t going to experience much cash these days, in fact, only 37% of all purchases were made with cash in 2016, so don’t just teach them cash. Digital money is an important tool to learn. Don’t worry about running to the banks for help, interest rates are important but in the early days, the gain is all about experience, not 1% interest on money they can’t touch for 18 years.
Spriggy is not a bank or a bank account; it’s a tool helping over 100,000 parents and kids teach positive money habits. The Spriggy app can help parents teach all these lessons to kids 8-17 with the use of real money; all under the parents control. It uses a unique parent and child app to engage everyone in earning, saving and thoughtful spending. There is also a personalised Visa card. It’s prepaid, so no chance of debt and it allows kids to spend where they want to, under the parents watchful eye – parents can even lock it instantly for added security.
Peter is a father of three with a varied background in marketing and technology and is passionate about supporting people to achieve their everyday goals in life. He is on a mission to spread the word of Spriggy to families across the land.