FOCUS: THE IMPORTANCE OF TEACHING OUR KIDS ABOUT MONEY
This month we shift our focus to our children and the importance of teaching them about money
Regardless of our own financial circumstances, if we are to bring up kids who are able to live a full and happy life, it’s important we give them the tools to manage and understand money. The saying that money doesn’t buy happiness carries some truth, but considering our entire planet revolves around its exchange, what money does or does not buy us most definitely impacts on our happiness.
The Benefits of Teaching our Kids about Money
There are many benefits to teaching our kids about money, for us and them!
In making a commitment to do this, it makes us look at the way we ourselves behave around money. If we constantly spend without saving or pay little attention to what is coming in and out of our bank account, we aren’t going to be in a position to set a good example. That isn’t to say we can’t, it just means our children learn by watching us.
If we can get to grips with some basic information to pass over to our kids it enables us to look at the way we manage money ourselves and work to improve that, thus providing a better example for our kids to follow.
As with anything, our kids learn their behaviour by what goes on around them. As parents we impact heavily on this. School, friends, family and other environments they are open to will affect the way they learn about money too.
If we are consistently giving them positive messages about money, this will become their normal. To give you an example of this, most of us can probably relate to being told certain things about money when growing up. As a child you take things literally and so these things take root and become your beliefs around money. For example, imagine you are told every day that there is not enough money, money doesn’t grow on trees, money is the root of all evil and money is hard to come by. As children, the messages we are given around money will most often shape our beliefs and behaviours around money as we grow into adults.
This highlights the real benefits of relaying very positive messages to our kids about money!
Where to Start
The most obvious place to start is with ourselves. By being conscious of what we say to our kids about money will help them create healthy beliefs around money. Money is after all just paper – it is the meaning we apply to it that really makes it what it is (or is not) in our lives!
Start with the basics:
- Give your kids an amount of money each week and explain that it is a good idea to save at least 10% of this (working out the percentages will also help with maths too). If your children are too young to understand percentages, explain it in a way that they can understand or show them with the money itself i.e. suppose you give them £5 each a week, have them work out the 10% to save or give them the money in change and show them what to save, taking out the 50p.
- Talk to them about money in a positive way. Explain that money is used as a value exchange – kids obviously aren’t going to understand the word value in the way that we do, so talk to them on their level in a way they can understand. Perhaps around toys – for example, the value of a football or sweets etc.
- Teach them about spending. Give them positive messages about paying bills on time, the reasons we work and have money so that we can pay for things.
- Help them to understand spending within limits and why that’s important. Talk to them about debt and how that impacts on their quality of life.
Most importantly make money fun. Spending money should be fun but not so that you leave yourself with nothing. Help them to see that money is meant to be used for good and to benefit our lives and that ultimately paying yourself first by saving is the best thing you can learn to do for yourself!
Fortunately we have the power of Google and you’ll find some great articles, tips and advice about teaching your kids about money. You’ll also find you become better at managing your own money through doing it too!