“Teaching kids about money is never just about money.” – Author Dave Ramsey.
CJ Ogolla, e-Resource Africa Network (e-RAN) director, explains as a reward, children are mostly given money which they spend on confectioneries immediately. This is one of the most common interaction children have had with money and then they are likely to keep asking for money to buy sweets. While he supports the idea of treating children, he is concerned that this experience teaches children that money is to be spent on as soon as they receive them, and money should be handed to them as soon as they ask. The idea of working for, saving or budgeting for money is yet to be experienced. And unfortunately, the saving culture has been reported to be low. How then can we also educate children about money?
“Saving is simple but the problem is that we wait for a large amount of money so that we can start saving. As we wait, we spend. Spending is infinity. We can never run out of ways to spend money. We can therefore regulate that by teaching children about the need to save,” he says. e-RAN sells children’s piggy banks as part of their mission of instilling financial literacy. CJ explains the values children can learn from keeping savings jar or piggy bank.
Habitual saving of money instead of getting instant fulfillment out of spending it makes them more financially discplined. You can give them the freedom to take some amount of money from their savings when they need to buy things they want, invest or give out to charity. Also, encourage continous saving even as they use money from their piggy bank or savings jar.
Equipping children early on with money management skills has a great potential of allowing them to make effective financial decisions later in their adulthood.
Since money management was neither taught at home nor in school, CJ states that there are many people from diverse professions struggling to manage personal finances in adulthood. As adults, a lot of unlearning and relearning has to take place to get better at handling money. If you are a parent and this has crossed your attention now, it is fine. It is never too late nor too early to teach children or oneself about money.
Planning and patience
Children learn to be patient as they watch their money grow. They also learn how to plan for the money they have keep in their piggy banks. CJ suggests that giving children the option to save some of the things they want for themselves, teaches them to avoid impulse buying. We then have children prioritizing their needs and wants.
Parents work with children to be financially literate. Some of the activities to do together are involving them in planning the household budget, allowing children to decide how they are going to use their own money, encouraging them when they make poor money choices, and sending them to the shop to buy items.
Sense of responsibility
Maintaining a habit to save builds conscious thoughts and actions around money. It teaches children on the value of money. For instance, if you have chidren earn by doing extra tasks around the house, you instill the essence of working hard for money and helps them to be more responsible with their money.
What is that one money lesson you hope children can learn?