When children understand the value of money, they learn how to use it wisely. Start the lessons early with these tips on how to encourage a life-long ‘money smart’ approach.
According to research by the Money Advice Service, children’s attitude to money starts forming by the age of seven.
Providing your children with a healthy attitude to money should therefore be considered a vital life skill.
Here are a few tips to get you started in helping your child become ‘money smart’.
Discussing finances in front of the children shouldn’t be a taboo subject. Hearing their parents talk about money, budgets and what is affordable will help give kids – young and old – an understanding of the importance of money.
There are ways of introducing the concept of money into everyday life. For example, a visit to the supermarket can be an exhausting endeavour for both parents and children. It doesn’t have to be. By incorporating games that involve guessing the number of items in a bag to looking out for 2-4-1 signs you can turn the weekly shopping trip into a learning adventure.
Encouraging older children to keep their own finances up to date by keeping a simple spending and saving diary is also a good habit and will encourage the pursuit of accurate financial record-keeping.
Saving provides both young and old children with a lesson in patience, focus, and determination. A piggy bank is a great way of encouraging young children to put money aside while a savings account for older children – a first major financial milestone – will inspire them to put some money aside.
Giving children pocket money enables them to learn about the basics of earning and spending. Providing them with the opportunity to earn money for doing extra chores will help them understand the connection between work and financial gain. A weekend job will further amplify that understanding when they grow up.
Introducing the concept of budgets will allow children to understand the importance of financial planning. Having one for favourite purchases such as sweets, magazines or clothes will offer a valuable lesson in financial prioritisation.
The concept of borrowing money can be hard for young children to grasp. Teaching them that lending is not a gift will be crucial to their understanding of credit as they grow older. And for teenagers, explaining the basics of interest, showing how rates vary and how balances can accumulate quickly will equip them with the info they need before they are able to apply for a credit card at the age of 18.
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