WHEN it comes to understanding the value of money and the importance of budgeting, saving, investing and giving, parents are typically the primary source of education for their children.
By Clive Mphambela
However, for many parents, money and financial matters are a difficult topic to broach with their children.
Instead of viewing money as a forbidden topic, you should as a loving parent educate, motivate, and empower your children to become regular savers and investors. It takes a bit of confidence and a bit of interest in the subject matter of money for the parent to do so.
Ultimately, reaching out to your kids in this way tells them that you care for them and you are concerned about their future financial success. Everyone makes money mistakes. It’s part of life.
However, helping your kids recognise potential potholes on the road to smart money management is a wonderful way to hopefully prevent some mistakes from occurring in the first place. The following list illustrates some common money mistakes kids make and the remedies to fix them.
Children should never have more cash on them than they need, simply because it is irreplaceable if lost or stolen. Making sure they have a safe place to keep their money is the key to fixing this money mistake! If the problem persists, try doling out allowances or other funds in smaller amounts, more frequently.
Also set up a bank savings account for your child in order to help them keep better track of their cash. This way they do not have immediate access to the money and they will learn to ask for permission to go and withdraw the money from the bank. This inculcates some good discipline in the children.
Borrowing and lending money
Generally parents should discourage kids from borrowing money. However, as they get older and hopefully more financially responsible allow, some little borrowing (only from you the parent).
When they so borrow, get your kids used to paying back what they borrow — and have them make repayments early, before the “due date.” By expecting them to repay the loan, you’ll reinforce the important that money isn’t free. The same will work in reverse. Occasionally, you will borrow from your kids. If you do, pay them back — with interest, on the agreed dates.
Remember to always emphasise the clear advantages of saving money rather than getting into debt.
If your child wants to purchase something you feel is unsafe, unhealthy or otherwise inappropriate, say no and stick to your guns. Teach your kids the clear distinction between needs and wants. This will be very difficult at first, but as you get to know them better and they get to know the intricacies of finance they will appreciate what the difference between wasteful expenditures and the good uses of money.
Sometimes you will notice that your kids are not willing to part with their money for the benefit of others such as buying gifts for a family member or a friend or donating to a needful charity.
Inculcate the notion that while saving and deferring consumption of money are important good financial habits, hoarding money as an endeavour in itself should not be an objective.
Explain to them that money itself is not valuable, but it simply allows us to purchase the things we need or want when we need to.
Helping your kids understand how rewarding and fulfilling sharing ones wealth with others can be is important in developing their overall attitude to money in future.
The value of banking
Even before your kids reach independence, you should teach them about savings and keeping their money safe in the bank. Help your kids become financially balanced by also teaching them how to manage their debt. That way their debts will never get out of control.
However, more importantly, in addition to explaining need to save money and keep out of debt.
It is crucial that we embed in our children, the ideals of hard work, earning one’s living and saving part of our income for the future. This should be done at an early age.
The values of hard work
It is important to instill in the child’s psyche, the notion that money doesn’t grow on trees, it must be earned. And interest on savings is just one neat way of earning money.
In one of our previous articles, we encouraged parents to teach children about the various sources of income that adults have. Parents should remind children that they don’t get paid for doing nothing. Everyone has to earn their keep. Remind your kids that you earn your money by making a useful contribution to your employer or to society if you are a business person.
Reward kids for positive behaviours about money
Yes reward them. For example regularly assess how much each of your children has saved and award them bonuses linked to their saving. The rewards may be non cash incentives, but you can also reward your child for saving by increasing their allowance from year to year. In other words the more they save and earn interest, the higher their allowance.
This will keep up your child’s interest. Literally!
Our nation’s economic future depends on the financial well-being of our youth. It is crucial that children begin learning about finances at a young age so they are better prepared to make sound financial decisions in the future.
Teaching the basics of money management can assist your child in developing good financial habits that will benefit them for the rest of their lives while having fun in the process.
-Clive Mphambela is a Banker and Financial Advisor. He writes in his capacity as Advocacy Officer for the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe. He can be reached on 04-744686, 0772 206 913, or clive @baz.org.zw