Its not too early to start
It’s every parents dream to see their child grow into a self-sufficient adult. From the time a baby is conceived, the level of dependency starts to decrease until the baby is ready to live outside their mothers body. From the time of birth onwards, their level of dependency continues to decrease. The journey to adulthood has already begun!
Physical growth happens naturally but there are other stages of growth that need to be instilled by the parents, such as intellectual and socio-economical skills. In terms of social skills, when you teach your children to say please, thank you and you’re welcome while they are still young, they will most likely to grow up to be adults with proper etiquette. What about personal finance skills? Is simply telling your child that money doesn’t grow on trees enough to teach them the right attitude about money? Obviously not. The personal finance skills you can teach your child can be broken down into three categories: savings, budgeting and making sound financial decisions.
You can use a reward system to introduce money to younger children. The reward system can be incorporated with other aspects of learning, such as teaching them to complete their chores on time. If you start early, by the time they are older, they will be better equipped to handle their pocket money in a financially sound way.
The traditional piggy bank system helps your child grow their understanding on the measure of value. You can start by rewarding them with small change and so they would have to collect a few more coins in order to have more money. The longer they wait, the more money they collect, and the closer they are to reaching their target.
Impulsive buying is a symptom of poor personal finance management skills, and it can lead to some serious consequences. The piggy bank systems teaches your child to be patience, they will be less inclined to wanting instant gratification.
How would you feel about not being able to check your bank balance? You can teach your child how to record the money they put in their money box. This will take their understanding of the measure of value a step further. They will have a better understanding of what they can buy with the money they have.
You can teach them about investment by adding more money in their piggy banks weekly or monthly, provided they keep saving – without spending, until they reach their goal.
Helping your child keep track of how much money they have in their piggy bank leads to the next step: the art of budgeting! You can use any method that’s age appropriate to teach our child how to work out a simple budget i.e. comparing the money they have with the monetary value of the things they plan to spend their money on. A budget will help your child understand the importance of spending less than they have. If the total comes up as a negative they will understand that it means they don’t have the money to buy whatever it is that they want. This will motivate them to save more vigorously in order to meet their goals.
Budgeting will also help your child understand the importance of writing things down. Opposed to just knowing how much they have, yet totally oblivious to how their expenses affect their balance. The ability to track their finances will give them the control and confidence they need to further advance their skills.
Sound financial decisions
Under this category you will be helping your child understand the difference between wants and needs. Sound financial decisions have to do with focusing more on your needs. When your child insists on meeting their wants first don’t feel discouraged. It might take a while for a child to understand this because they are naturally inclined to wanting to meet their wants first before meeting their needs. The best way to teach them is by not being too quick to intervene, let them experience the repercussions of neglecting the most important things.
You will soon notice an improvement in your child’s attitude towards money. For instance, if they previously didn’t have a problem with maxing out their piggy bank, they will start leaving a small amount so they don’t always have to re-open their savings on a zero balance.
A piggy bank might not be practical anymore as they get older. You can confidently open a bank account for them knowing that you have thought them some basic skills that you will continue to build on.