Kids & Money: Making Money Child’s Play in the Digital Age
Polymer notes and metal coins. This was our money. Presuming your childhood was spent before the advent of internet banking, you would have learnt about money this way. As for myself, I was taught about money when my Dad taught me how to play Monopoly at the age of six. He himself had been familiarised with money from accompanying his parents’ weekly trip to a bank teller, as all money had to be withdrawn before the Australian rollout of ATMs in the early 1980s. Presumably, my grandparents were introduced to money similarly, as were their parents and so on.
Physical versus digital money
But nowadays money is no longer just banknotes and coins. Be it for better or worse, the internet has transformed how we see money: from bills in our wallets to digits on a webpage. Online banking lets us manage our finances as though we were our own teller, manipulating accounts and paying dues with a couple of mouse clicks. Cards, mobile payments and payWave mean that we rarely have the need to keep physical cash tender on ourselves. Even the nature of currency itself may also be subject to change in the near future, as seen with the rise of things like cryptocurrencies.
Today’s children will one day be taught the value of money.
But is it right to teach kids about money in the same way we were taught? I think not. The way in which we interact with money sparsely echoes how our parents and grandparents did. Our own experiences are not the same as the experiences of children today. Nor should we rely on schools to teach children how to approach money, as their curriculums are set years in advance and so they cannot possibly keep up to date with the digital world.
Teaching our kids to be money-smart
Pursue Wealth cannot stress enough the importance of teaching children about money. Our children’s understanding determines how they will view our money and any investment we put into them. For instance. If children are money-smart, they’ll understand the significance of their…
Dental fillings average at around $200 per piece, which can drain any personal budget if they become a monthly occurrence. A money-smart child will be aware that the time taken to brush their teeth regularly is time well-invested.
Braces are long-term expenses that incur costs all the way up to $10,000. For lasting results, they’ll require patients to wear their retainers long after the braces are removed. A money-smart child will wear these retainers and not risk undoing the orthodontic work that you spent tens of thousands of dollars on.
Private School Tuition
With some grammar schools’ tuition fees being over $12,000 per semester, students’ learning should benefit from being aware of the investment that their parents are making. If it is feasibly within your price range, your decision should depend on whether your child respects the investment that you’re making on their education enough to capitalise on the advantages of private school.
Give kids the building blocks to develop money management skills
Children are not silly. If you can find a way to address them on their level, you can give them the building blocks of financial knowledge. Here, our informative lessons on fiscal management and personal finance have been used to build a guide that lets you teach your kids about money. From the get-go, you should be teaching children about money from the age that they can read and write up until they reach adulthood (and beyond, if possible).
Fourteen years of age is the typical age that is required by most Australian banks to open a debit card account, and this is roughly around the same age people can apply for part-time jobs. For children below that age, parents will have to assume an active role in teaching their children about money. We have a detailed four-stage plan that will lay the foundation for your kid’s understanding of money, and this is particularly good for kids who are totally unfamiliar with money.
Your teenager is more than capable of learning about the value of money now – it’s never too late to start!
Our simple four-stage plan to lay the foundation of financial literacy
Get the ball rolling by asking your children what toy or game they want. A child’s life is rife with targeted advertisements which can will them into wanting almost anything. Prod them about what their friends have that they don’t if you need to. It is almost certain that they will think of something.
When you have an appropriate answer or answers, explain to your child that what they want has a cash price. Then explain that prices are (mostly) derived from the effort made in creating said thing, and your child will need to put in a similar level of effort, via saving, if they are to get what they want.
Outline a list of tasks of which your child may feasibly do to pitch in around the house in order to earn specified amounts of money. You can create a ledger to help you with this, otherwise, there is a niche of mobile apps designed to regulate chores, such as OurHome.
Paying children for the completion of housework is very visceral and a time-tested way to match their effort to money. Never reward your child for failure to complete chores, as it will undercut this. While it is at your total discretion to determine the amount they may earn each week, it should allow your child to make enough substantial headway before something else catches their attention. Not only does this phase teach your child that their time has value, but it is also teaching them that money functions as a record of labour.
Virtual Bank (rather than a piggy bank)
Traditionally, parents would provide their kids with a glass jar or a piggy bank to use for pocket money. A jar’s translucency would allow a child to peer in and get a rough estimate of how much they have saved up. Conversely, the piggy bank’s opaqueness would require constant recounts, perhaps habituating awareness of savings.
Alternatively, you can choose neither. I must reiterate that children stand to gain more by learning that money is intangible. A numerical representation of the sum of their earnings is far more in tune with the digital world than a receptacle of coins and notes. Start by writing the name of your kid(s) and the sum of their saved pocket money. Next to that, you may add the price of what they are saving for. This will gear your kid’s thinking of pocket money as exact mathematical amounts instead of vague sums of “a lot” vs. “a little”, which is the type of thinking that success in the current world requires.
At the end of each week, sit down with your children and discuss the progress of their savings. Use their chore ledger or app to review the how much money they have earned over the week, how much money they could have earned for chores they didn’t complete, estimates as to how long it will take for them to have saved enough and how they are able to do more to save.
This one-on-one, face-to-face interaction is where you can have direct input on your child’s learning. Here, you can get the measure of their knowledge of money and build on that. Your children may actually surprise you with how much they already know.