Teach your kids about money

Teach your kids about money

South Africans are notoriously bad at saving money but wow, we can change that! Why not start to teach your kids about money? Have the conversations that you wish you had around the dinner table. Share feelings and emotions about money and most of all, help your kids to understand the value of money. But in a positive way.

I had an interview on Cape Talk radio about this. Take a listen.

Kids below the age of 13

Below the age of 13 one simply needs to understand some basic concepts like “what is money?”. Thinking about it though, it can be quite a deep philosophical concept. We work and do various things in order to earn money (physical or electronic) and we then use this to trade with. But really, what does money mean to you and how would you like your kids to think about money?

There’s a great personal finance book from the early 90’s called “Your Money or Your Life” where the authors Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez delve into the value of money in relation to your life and energy. They make you question whether things are worth doing.

Now that may seem very deep for a young child but you only need to start these conversations and over time help your kids develop their own sense of what money is.

Other topics to engage with when you teach your kids about money would be:

  • understanding that items can cost different amounts at different stores
  • the purpose of banks and how to open an account
  • how to save money and what interest is
  • what bank fees are
  • the fact that everyone needs money to live

One important conversation though is that having more money does not make you a better person. This needs to be spoken about!

Teach your teenagers about money

Teenagers know it all and whatever you tell them will likely be followed by a sigh and a “yes I know”; but it’s worth a try! 

At this age your kids should have an understanding of the value of money and be able to explain concepts of how money is earned, compounding interestsaving for goals and living within your means. If you give your kids pocket money or a set budget you should help them understand how to manage it properly.

It’s great to be able to provide your family with their every need and want, but it’s also important to teach your children how to manage money as this is a skill that they will need throughout life, particularly if they end up running their own business.

Let them work out how much they need to save in order to buy the sneakers they want, or help them understand how much they cost in relation to your grocery bill. You can’t eat shoes but they sure cost a lot!

And have you ever thought it possible to help your child actually start a business? Why not? Check out this idea on how to start a kids gumball business.

Practical ways to teach your kids about money

It’s one think talking to your kids about money and trying to help them understand some of the concepts. Why not involve them practically though?

Take them shopping and explain the unit price and how to see which item is cheaper. Discuss why you would sometimes buy the more expensive one anyway. Brand loyalty and all. Talk about priorities and what is important to them given choices and a limited budget.

Involve your kids in household expenses such as the rates bill, water costs and electricity. Let them do experimenters to see if actively saving electricity has an effect on what you end up paying. Let them know how much it costs to eat each month and let them bring suggestions about other ways to spend the money. Maybe they’ll surprise you and opt to eat cheaper meals in order to afford a nice weekend away.

These discussions and activities don’t need to be about saving and living frugally, and they certainly shouldn’t be to guilt your children in to respecting what you do for them. These are life lessons. Small simple exercises and conversations to get them thinking.

Normalise talking about money!

What do you do to teach your kids about money?

Please share in the comments or find me on social media and let’s engage.

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