I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase that money won’t make us happy and although I do agree with that to a certain extent, I also think that having money and knowing what to do with it certainly makes life a lot easier.
That’s why I want to make sure that my children grow up with a healthy attitude to money and that they’re able to confidently manage their own finances when it’s time for them to leave home.
There’s lots of different ways that you can help prepare your children for this but I thought I would focus today on the things that I’m doing now with my 13 year old daughter to help her prepare for the future.
To give you some background, Bethan’s at the age now where she has her own goHenry card with a weekly allowance paid straight to her account and she’s really enjoying the financial independence that she’s been given.
We recently gave her an increase in pocket money so she could learn a little more about budgeting – her pocket money has to last her all week and needs to cover any treats she wants to buy herself (make up, lip balms, nail varnishes etc.), any food and drink when she’s going out with her friends, extras like cinema when she’s going with her friends and any non-essential clothes. If she runs out of money there are no loans or advances so she has to wait until the next time her pocket money is paid.
She’s doing really well so far and I can see that she’s definitely learning to manage her money better this way than when she got less pocket money but we gave her money as and when she needed (wanted) it.
I don’t believe in linking pocket money to doing jobs around the house as I feel like she should be helping anyway but if she doesn’t do her set jobs each day then she wouldn’t be given her pocket money for that week, in the same way that she wouldn’t if her behaviour wasn’t as it should be. She can do extra jobs to earn a little bit extra if she wants though – usually jobs I hate doing. 😉
Another area that we’re learning together is in the kitchen because by teaching her to cook and to plan meals, I’m hopefully encouraging her to get in the kitchen rather than phone a takeaway and to cook something from scratch rather than pop a ready meal in the microwave. She plans a meal one day a week and she always has to stick to a set budget which makes her think about the ingredients she uses.
The last thing that I’m making an effort to do with her is include her in discussions about budgets and how much things cost. She was horrified to find out how much some things cost but it helps her to understand why we ask her to turn lights off and why we don’t have unlimited money. I even caught her telling her brother not to leave his TV on when we were going out the other day!
And apart from the things I’m doing with her to help her, I’m also very aware that, no matter what lessons I teach her, she’s going to learn from my example so I try even harder to make good financial decisions to teach her the right thing.
What financial lessons are you teaching your children?