Teaching Kids About Money: My Plans For Educating About Finances

I truly believe that we need to start teaching kids about money early on in their lives. While schools here in the UK are fantastic and teach so much, I really feel that they fall short when it comes to educating children about money- and finances in general. I spent my teens and early twenties getting myself into all kinds of hassle with money as I was honestly clueless, despite doing well in school I was horribly unprepared when it came to the real world. Even later on when I became self employed, I didn't have the foggiest when it came to things like my tax return or anything about how tax and budgeting for it worked, it's a minefield! I can honestly say I've never used Algebra since leaving school, but I could have definitely used some lessons about how credit scores work, credit card and loan interest rates, how to budget and more. I'm a mum to a three year old now, and I hope I can do more to make sure she doesn't end up in the same situations I did in early adulthood, and generally teach a better understanding about money and finances in the real world. 

Why Start Young?
Many people might argue, let kids be kids- there's plenty of time to learn later.  But the fact that they learn things so quickly, even though they won't need to put their money skills to use until much later, now is the perfect time to lay down some basic information and teach them about the fundamentals. This can always be expanded on later on, and secured in their mind with age appropriate tasks. It's not just about maths, it's about money management as an overall topic and everything that comes along with that, so there's a lot to learn. So start young!  A recent study found that 82% of young people want to learn about money in school. This makes me think schools should do more, but as parents, we can also step in. I recently read the article 'Savings Tips For The Younger Generation' and wanted to share some of the tips that they spoke about; if like me you have little ones I thought they'd be great ways to introduce them to money.

Saving Jars: Use clear jars instead of traditional piggy banks, that way they can see their money grow each week! 

Budget Pocket Money:  Encouraging kids to spend a little and save a little can be a good tactic, that way they get to enjoy their money now and can still get the satisfaction of watching it grow over time. Coming up with a goal, like saving up for a toy they really want can add more motivation. 

Earning Money: Age appropriate jobs and tasks to earn some money can be a good way to show children how money works. We've all told our kids 'money doesn't grow on trees' but until they've experienced putting in time and effort in return for money, it can be a difficult concept to grasp. 

Play Money Games: Classic board games like Monopoly deal with money, or for younger kids how about role playing activities such as 'shop' or 'restaurant'? You can set up your own little till out of cardboard and paper, or you could buy a little plastic toy version. 

Shop Together: A trip to the supermarket can lead to many different practical lessons. From meal planning and making a list, to checking weights and prices and adding up as you go along, it's the kind of skill that will hugely benefit them once they become independent. 

Before leaving home, it's so useful for teens and young adults to understand money and have experience in dealing with it. And this is something that can be done over time, starting from when they're really young. From saving to making money stretch, knowing how debt can accumulate (and how to avoid it) and more, there's plenty we can do in the here and now to prepare them for later. There are some really good tools out there these days that can make money management easier, from kids debit card apps to online banking that shows you how you're spending your money to all kinds of budgeting tools. So it's worth get clued up so you can pass on this knowledge,.

Without the right guidance, it's so easy to get it wrong when it comes to money- even if you're a sensible person with the best of intentions. So give your kids a head start, knowing how to manage finances gives them skills that will last a lifetime.

What kinds of things do you do you with your little ones to prepare them with money in the future?