“Hello this is your ATM (Automated Teller Machine) speaking”
…these are the words my husband often used when answering our daughter’s call during her years of being a student. I am sure every parent experience the demands of children in respect of money and the question is how to make your child “money/financial wise”. I remember my father’s saying of “Money don’t grow on trees …therefore you need to earn it and SAVE before you spend”
The CEO of ASISA says that the ratio of South African households’ debt to their disposable income of 78.4% is a clear indicator that most families live with borrowed money. The task of teaching financial literacy falls largely to parents. “Explaining to your children how a budget works, why it is important to save and why it is important to cater for unforeseen events is probably one of the most valuable lessons you can teach your children,” he says. “If we don’t teach our children from an early age how important it is to live within their ability and to save; we create a generation of adults who do not save and live on debt.”
Dempsey warns that it is important to start saving from a young age as young adults face various financial challenges as they try to enter the workforce. He says recent reports from Statistics South Africa (SSA) show that many young people sit without income for long periods of time while looking for work. The fact is if parents don’t teach their children how to manage money, the risk is that you might need to look after them during stages of your own life which you yourself cannot afford.
12 Handy Tips
- Use a clear jar to save. The piggy bank is a great idea, but it doesn’t give kids a visual. When you use a clear jar, they see their money growing.
- Set an example. A study by the University of Cambridge found that money habits in children are formed by the time they’re 7 years old.
- Show them that stuff costs money. You’ve got to do more than just say that this item costs so much. Take them to the store, and physically let them hand the money to the cashier. This simple action will have more impact than a five-minute lecture.
- Show opportunity cost. That’s just another way of saying, “If you buy this, then you won’t have the money to buy that.” At this age, your kids should be able to weigh decisions and understand the possible outcomes.
- Avoid impulse buys. “Mom, this is so cute! Can we buy it?”
- Stress the importance of giving. Once they start making a little money, be sure you teach them about giving. They can pick a church, charity or even someone they know who needs a little help. Eventually, they’ll see that their giving made a difference.
- Teach them contentment. Our young people these days are bombarded with what others have via social media and other mediums. Contentment starts in the heart. Let them know that their car (although not the newest car on the block) is still running well enough to get them from point A to point B.
- Give them the responsibility of a bank account. This teaches them to manage their own money and will (hopefully) prepare them for managing a much heftier account when they get older.
- Get them saving for their education. There’s no time like the present to have your child start saving for an education. Parents these days can just not afford to pay for all. There is nothing wrong with a holiday job. Let them take a portion of their holiday earnings and put it in a savings account. It is important to sit down with your child long before it is time for College or University and discuss the how and the why.
- Teach them the danger of credit cards. I am sure that many of us have fallen into the credit card trap!
- Get them to work out a simple budget. Teach them while they’re still under your roof. Distinguish between what you need and what you want.
- Help them figure out how to make money. Teach them to be entrepreneurs and not depend on others to give them a job one day. Assist your child to start up their own business.