Money Lessons Your Kids Need To Know Through The Ages
You have been educated, warned, and lectured about saving money since you were a child and yet it may have taken you a while and lots of pain before you realised that these primitive early steps were essential to being financially stable in life.
Break the cycle with your own child by planting the right financial seeds from young.
“Financial literacy is a base requirement like spelling or reading or something of the sort that everybody should acquire at any early age. The financial habits you develop when you are young are going to go with you into your adulthood,” said Warren Buffett, the third-richest person on the Forbes list of wealthiest people in an interview with Reuters.
Parents naturally have the biggest influence on their children’s money habits. Your attitude to money is just like your eating, exercise and hygiene habits – it’s learnt.
A Cambridge University study in 2013 found that most people’s financial habits are formed by the age of seven. This proves that financial literacy from young is crucial to pave the way to a financially free and stable life in the future.
So, how can you start teaching your kids about money? Here are some money lessons children should learn at different stages throughout their childhood:
Pre-school to kindergarten
Goal: To teach your kids the value of money and instilling in them the habit of saving it
At this stage, parents should introduce the value of money to their children. You can start giving them a small allowance that they can save in a piggy bank. Every six months, count the money saved with your child and tell them about putting them into a savings account. It doesn’t matter if they can’t spend it anyway, it’s the habit you’re going for.
You can also teach children of this age group the value of money by letting them pay for some things at the supermarket as time goes on. For example, paying for a bar of chocolate at the supermarket teaches them the importance and value of money to buy what they want.
Goal: To teach your kids how to manage their money and balance their needs and wants
Children in primary school should be given a fixed allowance either daily, or weekly to let them experience money management and budgeting. Daily allowance teaches them on how to divide up their money to buy food and drinks, whereas weekly allowance lets them manage the money over a few days.
Perhaps, one day your child may blow all the allowance on junk food or toys, but they will soon learn that they need to be wise about spending that money because they need to spread it over a few days.
If your kid asks you to buy something, for example a PSP, the handheld game console, explain to him or her the cost of getting one. Do the math and show your child how many days of allowance they need to save up in order to afford one. Can he or she forego their allowance for a game console?
Goal: To teach your child about earning money and managing it on a bigger scale
By this age, you should be giving your child monthly allowance. By having to manage a bigger budget for a longer period, this will teach your child important lessons about budgeting that will lead them into adulthood. For example, give your child an allowance of RM300 a month, and they will figure out that they will only have RM10 to spend a day over 30 days.
If your kid would like to buy something with the allowance, he or she will have to sacrifice something from the RM10 a day allowance. If they are planning to buy something that’s out of their monthly allowance, you can introduce the idea of earning money by either getting them to get a weekend part-time job or by doing chores at home that will earn them money.
Goal: To teach your kids about saving, managing and earning money and also debt management
Some teenagers in college have already began being in debt from their student loans. Therefore, it is imperative for them to learn how to save, manage and earn money before they officially join the workforce.
Your kids at this stage can benefit from getting weekend job, internship during semester break or even part-time job in the evening. It is important to let them gain working experience as early as possible and also how to choose the right job that will benefit them in the long run. This is essential to getting them to understand the value of earning money from a job and how debt can impact their lives.
The road towards financial freedom is paved with plenty of hitches, glitches and heartbreaks, but the final rewarding moment is the freedom from financial obligation and enjoying good wealth and health. As parents, it is our job to remove as many obstacles as possible from our children’s future, not by providing them everything in a platter, by guiding them to the right path that can potentially lead them to financial freedom.