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Few adults have truly mastered money and yet it is incumbent on adults who are also parents to teach their children about money. Parents are the number one influence on children’s future financial behaviour. If parents always seemed to be concerned about money or the lack of it, this is what their children will learn. However, by being proactive and intentional about the lessons we teach our children, we can set them up for future financial success. Below I have listed six key points that you can teach your children that will help them understand money. They have certainly helped me explain money to my son, I hope those of you who have children find them useful too.
Teaching Children About Money
Making a Choice
Explain to your child that you have a limited amount of money, it could be £10 or $10. The next step is for you and your child to decide to buy product x or product y, because you cannot afford to buy both.Those of you who have studied microeconomics, will recognise this as the ‘opportunity cost’ attached to the decision. This is a great way to introduce needs and wants too.
It’ is good for children of all ages to understand the need to make a choice between the two. Use it with real world examples when you are out and about. This website is great resource for explaining money to your children. Please make use of it.
Now or Later
Slightly more difficult to explain to many children is the concept of delayed gratification. Instead of buying something now, why not save your pocket money/ birthday money and save up to buy a larger item in a few weeks’ time? If a look of incredulity comes onto your child’s face, do not worry, you’re not alone. Once again, demonstrate with practical examples from their daily life.
Managing Pocket Money and Expenditure
Another great financial lesson is encouraging your children to have some financial freedom to make their own choices. If you are able, allow them to ‘earn’ pocket money by keeping their room tidy and helping out with chores. The money they earn is theirs and they should budget, save and donate; the remainder can be spend as they see fit. Please explain that if they deposit their money into a savings account it has a chance to grow because of the interest. Money stored in a piggy bank will not of course.
Financial Rationale & Commentary
I provide my son with a financial rationale for financial choices to build up his knowledge and help him to understand concepts such as value for money. For example, I have explained why I filled up the car with fuel at the local petrol station ahead of a long journey instead of at motorway services. Today, he told me that he would buy a Ferrari if he had the money so I’m not sure if everything I’ve said has been taken on board. 🙂
Regular Saving and Compound Interest
This website is a great resource that will help you explain to you child how compound interest works over time. The great amounts that can be created by regular saving and compound interest, as demonstrated by the website’s calculator tool should excite them.
As your children get older, over 14 years of age from example, there will be many opportunities to have specific discussions around money. Some may relate to the costs of higher education or how to sensibly use credit and debit cards. I will not be able to cover them all in this post.
How have your discussions with your children about money been? Were there any areas they struggled with? Let me know how in the comments section below.
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My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only. This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010.
I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.