Kids Need to be Taught About Money
First Published: June 23, 2009 ADawnJournal.com
The Alberta Finance Minister has said that both parents and the government need to take a firm hand in teaching kids how to be financially responsible now and in the future. With the current global financial situation having some bad news for everyone, even among the growing number of positive signs, it is now viewed as absolutely essential that sound financial planning is given the emphasis it requires at all levels, rather than leaving children to find out about the intricacies of the subject first-hand when they leave college and start looking for work. The minister, Iris Evans, said that her own children – all of whom are now grown up – have succeeded in life because she made sure to teach them about money.
Although not everyone would agree with the entirety of the Minister’s speech – which made great play of the importance of each family having at least one stay-at-home parent – the message of teaching children about money and how to handle it is one that will surely recur as we work to get out of the troubled financial climate of the present. At least some of the problems that the world is currently dealing with have something to do with irresponsible consumer borrowing and spending, and if good habits are locked in at an early stage then there is all the more chance that financial crises like the present one will be rarer and shallower in future. What the government may do remains to be seen, but there are plenty of things that a parent can do to instill the right habits in their offspring.
Savings accounts are something that will often be encouraged for the very youngest kids, but when they get to around the early teens the interest seems to drop off quite considerably. Finding a way to encourage your teenage child to save and pay close attention to the value of money is not difficult. All that one needs to do in the present climate to make one’s children pay heed to the importance of sensible financial practices is watch the news with them. As banks, businesses and other organizations battle the ill-effects of financial laxity, there has never been a better opportunity to pass on a message of caution.
It may be increasingly difficult in this day and age to avoid debt in one’s everyday life – particularly if one intends to make a go of a business career at any point – but a bit of financial wisdom can give the children of today the thought processes to deal with the future in a mature and secure way. Don’t teach them to be afraid of debt, but to understand good and bad debt. Don’t let your children see loans as free money, nor see savings as being boring or cheap. Good financial sense starts at an early age, and with a bit of forward thinking can lead to a very satisfactory future. Instilling these messages will mean less likelihood of a repeat of what we are currently dealing with.