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How to Teach Children About Money

In this week’s podcast I’m going to be talking about how to teach children about money when they’re under the age of 10.

What I want to share with you today is how I personally teach my boys about money, who are both under 10. I decided to interview George today, and ask him some questions about money to see how he responded, and his responses were really interesting.

We talked about the 4 categories that we always talk about as a family.

  1. Save
  2. Invest
  3. Spend
  4. Give

When it comes to saving for children, we like to talk to the boys about this for a couple of reasons; to teach self control, and also to teach them the art of delayed gratification. It’s important to help children to understand these things.

Some of you may have seen or heard of a study that was conducted back in the 70’s called the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment. A bunch of children were given a plate of marshmallows and were told that if they waited for a period of time that they would be rewarded with another marshmallow. It was fascinating to see how many children wanted that instant gratification and gobbled their marshmallows right away versus how many children waited.

The experiment then went back an explored what had happened with those children in adulthood, and the children who had waited were shown to have gone on to be more financially successful in adulthood.

It’s really about developing early habits, so it’s no coincidence that this was the case.

How to teach children about money and saving

One of the questions that comes up regularly when it comes to saving for children is where to save.

If your children are under 10 and they’re saving money to be spent within the next couple of years – for example if they’re saving their pocket money to buy a new toy or game – then it’s important to differentiate to them the difference between saving an investing.

Saving is about putting money aside for a particular purpose, reason, or purchase. Whereas investing is about investing your money somewhere for a longer term return for your future self. This may be about you investing money for their university fees or for their first house. They may not be fully aware of what these things are if they’re under 10, but it’s important to introduce the different concepts.

You can really get them thinking about how they can make more money, and nurturing that entrepreneurial spirit in them. Could they sell old toys on Ebay, or bake and sell cookies for example. The great thing about this age group is that they just soak up information, so it’s a brilliant time to start.

In my interview with George which is coming up, it was interesting to hear him talking about the products that he’s already buying in terms of investing in those companies. We use really simple terminology with our boys, and use examples that they will resonate with, so that investing is easy to understand for them.

For example, we’ve explained that by investing in a company like Disney, for example, they’re simply buying a slice of company so that as that company makes more money they get a slice of that too. And that’s really as simple as I would recommend keeping it for under 10’s.

Spending

It’s really important to allow children to spend money. We don’t want them to grow up believing that money is hard to come by or that it’s scarce. Even if money is scarce right now!

The only way that children learn to appreciate the value of money is to spend, save, and invest. They need to go through those natural emotions that come up around money. The frustration when they can’t have something instantly, and the feeling of not being able to have that instant gratification, for example.

Needs VS Wants

One of the things we have done with our boys is to draw up a list of needs and wants. We talked about some of the things that they wanted to buy in the near future, and then we discussed with them which of those were needs and which were wants. For example, new school shoes are a need, whereas a new game is a want.

Moving on from that, when they are then asking for things, you can simply ask them if that’s a need or a want.

Giving

Teaching children to give money is also super important; it encourages the development of things like empathy and self esteem. Showing them that money can be used for good helps to avoid developing negative connotations that often come up around money.

Encourage children to give when they can to causes that mean something to them, and also show them the positive impact that their money has when it’s given.

How to teach children about money when they're under 10

We have a very special guest today, George Morgan.

Hello!

How old are you George?

8 years old, I’m 9 on March 28th.

What have you been up to today?

I’ve been at school, and I hurt myself 3 times in the playground.

What made you happy today?

I got on the top of the superstar behaviour ladder. I got the headteacher out 3 times in dodgeball!

So today George, we’re talking about money and how to help parents teach their children about money. What do you love about money, George?

I love to spend it and sometimes save it.

What did we do last weekend?

I bought 3 Match Attacks for £8, and I gave some into my Metro bank account. I have £102.98 in there.

What are you going to use that for?

I don’t know yet.

When you have money in your piggy bank at home, how do you split it up into different pots?

I put a little bit of money in save, a little bit of money in spend, a little bit of money in invest, a little bit of money in give.

What does investing mean?

It means like you can give money to like Apple, Disney, Amazon, AppStore, Whatsapp.

What about the giving pot, what’s that for?

Say if I give money to like a family in Africa, say about £50, then they would be really happy and grateful. They could save it and maybe they could go on holiday, get a job, get a new house.

Do you think money makes you happy?

Yeah. Because when I have £0 then I don’t have to try and get money.

How would you try and earn money?

By doing chores like dusting the attic!

If you had all the money you could dream of, what would you do with it?

I would give some to charity. About £200. I would give it to Meningitis because my little brother Thomas had meningitis when he was only about 5 weeks old.

What does money mean to you?

Money means to me that I can do stuff, not just spend it all and have no money.

Make sure you save, spend, invest, and give!

George Morgan, Age 8

How do you feel when you have to wait to buy something?

Annoyed because I have to wait ages for something I desperately want, then sometimes I just get bored. Sometimes I stay awake in bed waiting.

Do you think it’s important to wait for things?

Sometimes. Then we have time to do stuff whilst waiting.

What is something that I always say to you about money?

Ummmm… You should always save, spend, invest, and give!

What does Mummy do for a job?

You work on The Money Panel. You help women (and men!) to save, spend, invest, and give and to control their emotions with money.

What are you going to do when you grow up, George?

I’m gonna be a professional footballer and play for Liverpool and be their top scorer!

Anything else you want to share with us George?

Make sure you save, spend, invest, and give!

Resources:

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