Opinion

The Lessons We Need To Be Teaching Our Children: Finances

By 29 June 2022 No Comments

School is a vital part of a child’s secondary socialisation, children are able to learn societal values, beliefs and attitudes outside of the family structure. They are taught about expectations of them and how to behave within the larger society. Our education is a fundamental part of childhood and development but so are the lessons taught at home. A child’s primary socialisation, those first nuggets of information, come from the influence of family and close friends. Children, through their schooling, are given tools to take with them throughout their education and into the big wide world.

 

We encourage them to become immersed in algebra, literature and the periodic table. Children are mentored by their teachers to pursue their interests and engage with the world critically and in an informed way. As a society we know that we owe a lot to our teachers. For many of us they are our childhood heroes, role models, and cheer leaders. They’ve committed their careers to helping future generations through their early years and dedicate years of training in order to give them the best education possible. Many children moan about the information they’re taught from the hours of 9:00 am until 3:15 pm. When you’re young the privilege of knowledge and having an education evades you. Homework is an inconvenience and school days are long and tiring.

 

Todays Lesson Plan: Budgeting, Saving, and Investing

 

And yet, many of us leave school and will at some point say: ‘I wish I learnt this in school’. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, we retrospectively yearn for more lessons. Lessons of budgeting, employability, and frankly those general life skills that most of us Google or ask our parents. Teachers have a limited time during the day and are constrained by the curriculum guidelines to what they can teach your children. Perhaps some onus can partially be placed on the rest of us to aid in our children’s education and develop some basic living skills that are vital in adulthood. However, some parents feel unable and unqualified to give their children guidance in these financial lessons. As a result, the cycle of lack of information and uncertainty continues.

 

Our teachers have the pressures of adhering to the set curriculum. Our parents have the pressures of their own careers and household duties. So, the question becomes who is responsible for teaching children basic financial skills? Arguably, the cycle can only be broken if the education system, and government, is willing to carve out some time and resources to giving a crash course to the world of finances. Passing on the gold dust that is navigating finances may be able to save our children a few Google searches. We can provide them with our own experiences and education on finances, making it relatable and relevant to real-world examples.

 

Being able to budget, contribute to savings, invest, and manage personal finances are just a few of the life skills regarding finance many of us stumble through life trying to figure out. These are basic life skills that if taught would positively serve children into adulthood.

 

Resources to be Your Teaching Assistant

 

The UK Government acknowledges the need for children learning about finances and being comfortable around money from a young age. They have created MoneyHelper, a service that provides parents with support and information about how they can introduce finances into their children’s lives from a young age. This in turn creates comfortability and confidence around money. They write that ‘Parents and carers have the most important influence on how children deal with money in adult life’. Also stating ‘Children who do better with money normally had parents/carers talking about money and giving them responsibility for spending and saving money from an early age’. MoneyHelper has  reported that only 4/10 children said they were taught about money and finances in school. It is not enough to teach children about addition and subtraction and hope this knowledge will help them organise their finances and be able to budget and save.

 

There is a call to action that children need and want to learn about money and finances and that they should be being taught from a young age. The MoneyHelper service provides articles giving advice to parents for specific ages in childhood. Including what to introduce to their children in each stage. They want parents to inform their children but not overwhelm them into having an all-encompassing fear of money. Their tips include taking children food shopping with you and comparing prices out loud, getting them to pass the money over to the cashier, and count out your change to them.

 

Make Playing with Coins Homework

 

These steps, along with practices such as doing chores to earn pocket money, help nourish a confidence with handling money and personal finances. These financial conversations parents have with children should start around 3 years-old, according to experts. Start by letting them handle coins and notes. This in turn builds recognition of money and is the beginnings of them understanding the value of money. If your children are in full-time work and living at home, consider asking them to contribute to rent and/or bills. As a consequence, they become accustomed to monthly outgoings when they move out.  Encourage your children put money in savings, building a rainy-day fund, a crucial aspect of money earning. Through putting your two cents in and educating children in finance they can gain confidence with money. They may even pay their knowledge forward to their own children.

 

We also wrote an article on the importance on teaching children interview skills to give them skills specific to employability.