Parents may feel the urge to keep their children in a bubble for as long as they can, leaving them to deal with the world much later on in their lives. What they’re being deprived of, however, is the knowledge that little actions like saving money are as important now in their early childhood as they will be when they hit their 30s.
Start with the Basics
One might ask: how valuable is personal finance to my children? Or: what will my seven-year-old do with a comprehensive formula on revenue growth?
Contrary to popular belief, talking to children about money need not be a novel-length account of mortgage crises or loan interest percentages back in your day. Marah Curtin, the woman behind the child-focused financial programme Cents for Kids, started teaching her son the importance of money by giving him a weekly allowance at age two. She taught him how to spend his own money on whatever toy he was pining after, just as long as it came from his own pocket.
Don’t Back Down
New York Times bestselling author Beth Kobliner remarks that children as young as three years old already have a good grasp on basic personal finance concepts, such as saving and spending. Parents are responsible for their children’s financial behaviours, and Kobliner believes teaching them will raise a generation of mindful consumers, savers, investors and, most importantly, givers.
When you feel you aren’t qualified to talk about money to your kids, you can gain confidence by reading up on the topic. There are books and online resources such as Stock Market London to help you. When your kid is stubborn about it, keep going. These lessons on money may seem pointless at first, especially if your children resist your efforts, but no matter the outcome, it shouldn’t be a reason to give up. The only trick is to be consistent. It’s called “delayed gratification” for a reason, after all.
Curtin is aware of the difficulty in resisting the urge to take the easy road and give their children whatever they wanted. The moment you do resist is the moment they learn.