South Africans are notoriously bad at saving money but the annual National Savings Month is a great opportunity to get your kids involved in some good financial habits which can set them up for life!
Of course, you don’t have to wait for a specific month or awareness campaign to kick off. Helping your kids set financial goals, giving them the basic financial fundamentals and getting them started with basic banking can and should be done as often as possible.
There are probably other people that we interact with who are in desperate need of financial skills and there’s no reason why not to chat to them too and see if you can help.
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 your children with 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
Helping your teenagers
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 interest, saving 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.
National Savings Month may have come to an end, but there’s no reason not to plan out a few months of money discussions to have with your children or think of practical ways to help them learn some concepts.
You could for example involve them in monthly household expenses and give them an inside into how much it costs to feed the family, or how the rates bill has increased over the past year.
Simple conversations but great life lessons.