How To Teach Your Kids Good Money Habits

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As millions of South African learners head back to school. One of the biggest lessons they need to learn in life to help them succeed is financial literacy, which needs to be first taught from home.

A Cambridge University study suggests that by age 7, that’s when children can develop a basic understanding of financial behaviours they might need in their adult life. Building a strong financial foundation from a young age is critical. That’s why it’s so important that we help our kids build a healthy relationship with money from an early age.

It’s never too early to start

Talking openly about money matters with your children will build their financial awareness. Include your children in conversations about your monthly budget, income, and expenses from a young age. Show them how to prepare a budget. Get them to calculate the tip on a restaurant bill. Get them involved in choosing the best grocery items based on cost and quality. These may seem like trivial tasks, but they all help make a child financially savvy from an early age.

Teach your children to budget

Help your children set up a simple age-appropriate budget – maybe one-third for spending, one-third for saving, and one-third for giving, for example. Or open a savings account for them and deposit a portion of their pocket money into it every month. When they start to see their money grow, they will start understanding the value of saving, compound interest, and budgeting.

Set a good example

It’s not enough to simply teach your children about money: their biggest influence is the way you discuss and handle money around them. Children learn by watching you. It’s no use teaching them to budget one day and then going on a shopping spree the next. You’ve got to show them what good financial habits look like.

Help your children earn money

Don’t just give your kids pocket money without requiring them to do something for it. The sooner they learn how hard it is to earn money, the sooner they will learn to be financially independent. Get them to wash the car or mow the lawn. And if they only complete two out of three chores, only pay them two-thirds of their pocket money – and explain why you’re cutting their pocket money.

For older children, packing grocery bags or working as a teller or a waiter doesn’t just teach money lessons. It teaches how to take instructions, work with others, and handle workplace stress. Educating your children about money takes time – but it will instill good habits that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.