Starting your kids on the right financial path

Standard Chartered Bank

(Continued from January 30, 2020)


Share information on family finances – while some parents think that children should not be involved or know about family finances, others think that by letting your children know that money doesn’t grow on trees is a good thing.

If you choose to tell your children that your family may not be as well off as others, be prepared for questions like why not.

As a family unit, everyone should play their part in understanding what their roles are in terms of finances.

For your children it would mean that they should understand that they may not be able to receive new toys every time they ask for one or that they may have to forego their allowances, etc.

Teach them the meaning of value – keep your children busy at the supermarket when you take them grocery shopping by asking them to study the prices of different items like milk or their favourite cereals.

Ask them to compare prices and ask them which one they would choose and why they want to choose that particular item over a different one.

If you cannot afford a particular sweet or snack, tell them why and ask them if they could possibly choose a different item that is cheaper, or can they make an alternative choice or even go without for this week and wait for next week instead to buy this item if they have saved enough.

This is a good way to set them up for financial decision-making in the future when it comes to larger purchases.

Money needs to be earned – if you give your children allowances for buying sweets at school, remind them that you are only giving this as when you can afford to.

They must understand that if some days you cannot afford to give them an allowance, then they just have to learn to do without. This is not to be done in shame as it is not at all shameful to admit lack of funds but instead should be done as a matter of fact.

If your children ask for extra money to buy a toy or other luxury item, barter with them that you will give them extra money if they agree to help with an extra chore like washing the car, doing the dishes or learning how to iron.

All these skills are valuable to learn anyway. Or you can agree with them to give them the extra money as a reward if they do well in their next test.

Save money on domestic help in exchange for learning life skills – as your children get older and become teenagers, consider saving on hiring domestic help and instead get your children and indeed all members of the family to pitch in with various household chores.

Not only will they learn valuable domestic skills that will set them up for learning how to take care of themselves when they go for further studies and start their own lives, it will also teach them to be more independent and self-reliant.

Split the chores between the children and ensure that they are properly responsible for them.

Reward them with extra pocket money from time to time for a job well done.

Encourage your children to earn their own money – when your children are older, ask your children to consider making use of their long holiday breaks to earn extra money for their own savings.

There are many options available. Teach them that earning their own money is an achievement to be proud of no matter what job they are doing – no job is too small as long as it pays. Of course, make sure that the job is legitimate.

Remind them to be charitable with their money – While saving is important, it is also good social grace to share some of it from time to time with a sibling or a good friend as well as be charitable. Ask your child to consider donating a small amount of their pocket money when they go for prayers at the mosque or at church. Ask them if they would like to donate money to help other children their age in need and if so ensure that you as a parent follow through on your promise to help them get their money to a charitable foundation.

Encourage your children to share as well. It can be as simple as having them offer to buy an ice cream for their younger sibling.

This article is for general information purposes only and while the information in it is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by us. You are advised to exercise your own independent judgement with the contents in this article.