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  • Writer's pictureTom from Harken Financial

5 essential money lessons that could improve your child’s financial independence

Between 12 and 16 June, Young Enterprise runs a national campaign across primary and secondary schools with the aim to give children the skills and knowledge necessary to understand finances to thrive in later life.


Taking place every year since 2009, My Money Week has already taught hundreds of thousands of young people how to budget, save wisely, and manage credit card debt.


My Money Week is the perfect time to teach your children about money and improve their financial literacy.


So, please continue reading to discover five helpful lessons that could improve your children’s financial independence and ensure they’re prepared for anything life throws their way.


1. How to manage their money online


These days, most banking is done digitally, so there’s a good chance that the current generation will primarily manage their finances online.


You could set up an online account for them to use and manage, such as a Junior ISA or current account. This will make it much easier for them to grasp the concept of digital money and how to look after it themselves.


As your children get older, you can set them up with a traditional bank account they can use for online purchases. Then, when you feel the time is right and they’re responsible enough, they can progress to a debit card they can use in shops or at ATMs.


2. What is debt, and when it should be used


As you may know, it’s easy to feel snowed under when debt starts piling up. So, teaching your children how to manage debt could be a great way to prepare them for the future.


It may be worth explaining the difference between “good” and “bad” debt. For instance, you should teach them that debt isn’t always bad, such as if they need a mortgage to buy a house that is likely to appreciate in value.


Meanwhile, you can teach them that “bad” debt is when they spend outside their means, perhaps on non-essential items, such as a new TV or expensive clothing.


This could also be the perfect time to warn your children about credit card debt and “buy now, pay later” schemes. You can explain that these forms of debt often have uncompetitive interest rates and that credit card debt that they don’t pay off quickly can soon spiral.


To help your child distinguish between good and bad debt, you could teach them the difference between “wants” and “needs”. Encourage them to ask themselves: is it really worth getting in debt for this purchase?


3. The importance of saving early


Getting a child into healthy saving habits early can instil good behaviours for later life.


An easy way to start is to open a savings account for your child or buy them a piggy bank to keep their pocket money in. This could encourage them to save for things that appear expensive in relation to the money they receive each week or month, but affordable if they save over the long term.


This could also lead to helpful conversations about what to do with additional sums of money they receive – such as for birthdays or Christmas. Teaching your children the importance of early saving could help them develop healthy saving habits as they age.


4. The power of compounding interest and returns


Einstein once reportedly described compounding returns as the “eighth wonder of the world”, and for good reason. As such, it’s worth teaching your children about the power of compounding returns and the effect on long-term savings.


Granted, this can often be a tricky subject for younger children to get their heads around, so it may be worth teaching them in the form of a game. One such activity is the “bank of treats” game. Simply give your child a small amount of money, and tell them to put them in their “bank”.


After a short while of saving, you can add more cash to their “bank” to show them how delayed gratification could earn them more in the long run. When your child understands just how powerful compounding returns can be, they may be more eager to save.


While teaching your children about compounding returns, it may also be worth mentioning how high interest rates can quickly escalate debt levels on unsecured borrowing, such as credit cards.


5. The idea of “earning to spend”


In many cases, to spend money, you first need to earn it. This is an unavoidable fact of life, so reinforcing this with your children as early as possible could be a great way to develop their financial literacy.


You could get your child to help around the house with chores to earn some, or all, of their pocket money. By doing so, they could come to appreciate the value of money and hard work.


Then, when your child is old enough, you could encourage them to get a part-time job to increase the amount of money they save.


Get in touch


Helping your child to improve their financial literacy can help them in later life. If you want to explore ways of building a fund for your child or grandchild, we can help.


Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.


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