What was your earliest lesson about earning or saving money?
Did your parents give you an allowance as long as you cleaned your room?
Were you the entrepreneurial type, setting up a cold drinks stand on a hot summer day? Did your great Aunt give you $5 every Christmas (even in your 20s) and tell you to put it away for a rainy day?
There’s no doubt that our early memories shape what we are today. If you could turn the clock back, what would you want to learn from a younger age? And if you’re a parent, what should you teach your children?
1. There’s no such thing as money for nothing.
Parents who just hand over money or an allowance to their children are setting them up for failure. Make sure the money is earned, not given.
2. Make gifted money special, not the norm.
Money given as a gift should be carefully considered rather than the victim of wanton spending. This puts true value on the gift, even if the decision is to save it.
3. Really understanding what credit means.
Young minds can’t grasp the concept and often initially see it as ‘free money’. Comprehending that the money is borrowed and needs to be paid back – with ‘interest’ (another concept they should understand) may take some explanation – even to adults!
4. Have an end goal in mind.
Whether you’re saving for a One Direction album or a down payment on a home, delayed gratification can also be beneficial in other areas of life.
5. Always have an emergency fund.
Life is full of uncertainties. The roof may leak, or One Direction may release a surprise album!
6. With money comes responsibility.
This is a take on the quote ‘with power comes great responsibility’. Money is not a self-fulfilling prophecy. In taking care of yourself you are also taking care of the greater community. Perhaps a bit deep for a five year old but an important lesson nonetheless.
7. Making choices.
We do it all the time based on our finances. The sooner this is understood, the better the transition is to ‘the real world’. Taking this one step further, if children are involved in family decisions – “should we as a family go to the cinema or wait until it’s released on a streaming service and put that money away for our family holiday?” is one example.
8. Literally watching your savings grow.
Money accruing in a bank is an abstract concept, even for adults. The digital age makes it near impossible for really young minds. That’s why the good old-fashioned piggy bank or money jar is the perfect way to start.
When it comes to finance, you can never stop learning. So follow these steps –they’re so easy, even a child could do it (so there’s not excuse for you).