Schoolkids have enjoyed a series of classes for this year’s My Money Week, a week dedicated to teaching kids about the importance of personal finance using comprehensive teaching aids and materials, as well as digital resources.
Teaching good financial habits
Kicking off on June 11th and running ’til the 17th June, the event, now entering its tenth year, is organised by the group Young Money – previously known as the Personal Finance Group – with a single mission: to help children understand personal finances.
The My Money Week event follows on from the recent Personal Finance Teacher of the Year award, which saw Arkholme Church of England School’s Joy Ingram and Ceri Diffley of Dane Court Grammar School take home the coveted prizes – not to mention a healthy £3,250 earmarked for school equipment – for Best Primary and Secondary School Teachers.
Lessons for little ‘uns
It’s hard to understate how important it is to learn about good personal finance habits at an early age. Whether it’s starting to save young or simply getting a grasp of households budgets (and, perhaps the toughest lesson for any youngster, the value of everything).
Dedicating a full working week to learning about personal finance initiatives offers a great start. However, Young Money is keen to stress that the national curriculum’s personal finance education is often ‘patchy’. And that’s compounded by the fact that many kids simply aren’t taught about personal finance in real world settings; in other words, they’re not receiving education at home.
As such, in a press release championing My Money Week, organisers offered up five quick teaching tips that any parent can impart on their kids – tips that come straight from Zurich UK’s savings expert, Rose St. Louis…
Start saving young
It’s probably the most crucial lesson any youngster can learn. And, done the right way, it can be exciting for kids to open up a savings account (it makes them feel grown up) and positively reinforces the importance of saving. If you’ve already set up a savings account or an ISA for their adulthood, once they’re old enough to understand the concept, it’s the perfect opportunity to get them, and their hard-earned pocket money, involved.
Even adults struggle to correctly budget, so getting children to do it early on will undoubtedly better prepare them for adulthood. St. Louis recommends that budgeting be introduced ‘lightheartedly from an early age. When you go food shopping for example, why not give them a set amount of money to see what they can buy on a budget.’
Today, easy credit slushes around us, flooding high street banks’ advertising and filling up letterboxes and inboxes with offers of untold wealth – for a price, of course. We’re addicted to borrowing and, if we want to shield ourselves from another credit crunch, teaching kids about the pros and cons of credit; when and when not to seek out lenders is a good way to start.
Know the jargon
Thanks to outlandish acronyms and hefty legalese, the world of finances is, seemingly by design, utterly impenetrable to those who speak English. It’s often hard to believe that the former was derived from the latter. But that’s part of the problem – without fully understanding all that financial jargon, we’re more likely to ignore good habits. Who cares about the impact of APR, after all, if you don’t know what it is? So, it’s a good idea to get kids used to complex terms early – they might not remember what compound interest is, but at least they’ll be aware of it when they’re old enough that such matters factor into their finances.
Work for their money
No, we’re not suggesting the return of brutish child labour – and neither is St. Louis. What she is suggesting, however, is that instilling the concept of earning pocket money for chores (as opposed to giving in and just buying them things). Doing so ‘has the added benefit of giving them the responsibility of earning money and saving from a young age. If children work for their money doing chores, even if it is just a few pounds here and there, they can develop a better appreciation that money is earned, not just given to them.’