SO the good book says, “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it”. It cannot be overemphasised that this needs to be extended to financial management too.
In this digital age, parents cannot afford to neglect the crucial responsibility of teaching their children about managing money, says head of FNB Premium Alna Booysen.
According to her, with billboards around on the way to school, lifestyle images in a magazine or social media images of children’s favourite celebrity or idol, children are exposed to information that may give them a misguided view of how money is ‘easily’ earned and how it should be used.
“Once a child has preconceived ideas of how money management supposedly works, it may be difficult for parents to entrench their preferred principles. Hence, it’s important to start the money conversation very early in a child’s life,” noted Booysen.
The banker said there are practical ways of helping children get to grips with managing their wallets. These include:
• Household budgets, be it weekly or monthly. It is true that all families that earn income must ensure that every dollar is accounted for. Getting children involved in this process gives them responsibilities to make every dollar go a long way.
• Chores also help. One can start by introducing educational exercises to help the children appreciate that ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’. These could be small tasks where they get incentivised upon completion.
• Teach them to save for school trips. Schools often plan trips or learning excursions to places such as the local historical site or museum. While it is the responsibility of the parents to plan for this financially, there is no harm in allowing your children to help in managing the savings kitty.
• Family vacations. While not every family may have the resources to go on a vacation, especially in these trying times, where possible, parents can task their children to manage holiday savings, especially if it is a destination that they are looking forward to visiting.
The list above is not exhaustive, but merely highlights that where money is involved, learning opportunities exist. Involving children in the management of money as early as possible can go a long way in ensuring that they become financially responsible grown-ups.
“Teaching kids about managing money needs to be a practical exercise, instead of a conversation once in a while. This way, the awareness becomes a part of the child’s life and they start adopting the same principles in other areas of their lives,” said Booysen.
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