Do you remember what Children’s Day was like growing up? How you got to be one of the few lucky pupils to represent your school following weeks of practice for the March-past at the Stadium. You were always so excited to wear your neatly starched uniform, sparkling white socks with sneakers. Besides the main event, the gathering was always a great opportunity to see your friends and make new ones from other schools. You also get to spend your generous pocket monies on biscuits, buns, sweets, lollipops and other snacks! Nostalgic right?
Speaking of pocket money, it was as if being a child was an automatic pass for getting cash gifts from visitors but here we are, all grown up, paying bills, making big life decisions and even raising kids ourselves, ‘‘adulting’’ as they call it. As a child, I was a beneficiary of such kindness from visitors. After the obligatory declaration to the parents, I was left to do as I please with the cash gift on the rare occasion that mom didn’t offer to ‘’keep’’ the money for me. We all know what that often means. Wink emoji
I was reflecting on the excessive ways in which I spent this extra cash and wondered if I could have done things differently knowing what I know now. So, I came up with these eight money lessons for you to implement and also share with your kids & young friends. Remember, someone has to plant a tree before others can sit in a shade.
1. Discipline through Savings: Saving from what you have is key. Encourage children to save from their pocket money- no matter how little. Little drops of water makes a mighty ocean they say. The amount saved might not be much, but the consistency with savings teaches discipline.
2. Accountability: Rather than using the traditional wooden box or kolo, consider getting them clear plastic jars to monitor their progress as they save.
3. Value Signaling: You should not be ashamed to admit to not being able to afford something. Kids these days would eat pizza & ice-cream all day if you let them – show them the cost savings in having a home cooked meal. You also enjoy family time with the kids.
4. Demonstrate opportunity cost instead of teaching it: Showing the concept of opportunity forgone with simple statements such as “If you buy this video game simply because you want it now, you won’t be able to buy the pair of shoes you need”. Thiswill teach kids about decision making and the effects of the opportunity foregone than a lecture and will help them differentiate between their wants and needs.
5. Goal Setting & Budgeting: Help your kids recognize the importance of setting goals and then working towards those goals. A budget can be useful, it helps you curb your expenses as you increase savings towards your goals.
6. Take advantage of compound interest through Investing: Buy a fixed income type investment in their name to create a sense of ownership. Teach them the concept of compound interest as the capital grows.
7. Reinforce the value of money: Take Children shopping with the money they’ve saved up, have them count it out and attempt to make a payment for their purchase. You will be amused at how quickly their excitement will turn into shock and then disappointment when they realize how low their purchasing power is. This will help them appreciate things.
8. Go digital: We used to think we were hip and well informed but with advancements in technology, today’s children are more informed than most adults. Children are familiar with how to navigate YouTube, tech gadgets, games and apps. These already take their time, why not meet them halfway by introducing them to educational apps that could help them learn how to save, it’s easier to teach kids with the things they are familiar with.
Beyond teaching kids how to count, it is important to also show them what counts. This year, we hope you take the time to impart these valuable money lessons that will serve our kids in their lifetime without putting a damp on the fun of the occasion.