If someone asked you the question; if you could buy anything you wanted, and money was no object, what would you respond? A car? Maybe a house? Or what about a trip round the world? We asked our goHenry parents and children that exact question and the results were interesting, to say the least.
Almost half of our goHenry parents (42%) would buy a house compared to just one sixth (15%) of the children we surveyed. This is unsurprising, as children tend to want to buy fun things like pets, which is exactly what almost one quarter (22%) of eight to nine year olds would spend their money on. Meanwhile one fifth (19%) of 14-15 year olds would buy a car if they could buy anything.
Some adults take a less exciting route with over a fifth of parents (21%) admitting they would pay off any outstanding debt if they could, increasing slightly to 24% for parents of 14-15 year olds. However, our research found that debt was not a concern at all for children.
Most interestingly, the research confirmed there is an age at which children start to change their aspirations, wants and needs, from things like toys and sweets to more adult material items such as cars, houses and holidays. One in 10 (11%) eight to 11 year olds would buy toys, while not one single 12-15 year old that we surveyed would do the same.
Child psychologist, Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, commented on this step change and what it means in relation to money:
There is a striking difference between how an eight to nine year old thinks about money and those 12 and over. This is predominantly down to the fact that starting secondary schools can kick start the process of learning about the importance of having money, and being able to buy the things you want.
So what does this mean for parents? Well, we would never pretend to know your children better than you, but we think this means that parents need as much support as possible in educating and nurturing their children’s understanding of money, how they save and spend.