Many parents often voice out that they have children who do not know how to spend their money wisely. This may be subjective as the concept of money is different for everyone. Some may feel that they should purchase quality goods over quantity. Others may prefer short term pleasure over long term rewards. Indeed, it is a grey area to decide who is right and how does someone spend wisely.
Hence, it may be a good idea if we start to empower our children on how to judge the value of their money instead of forcing our answers on them. Ultimately, our children should take responsibility for their money management. As such, we can provide a dose of parenting patience and trust to guide our children towards their own financial management. Here are some scenarios that we can consider when we engage our children in financial literacy lessons:
For children younger than 12 years old:
Bring your children along when you are heading out for grocery shopping. As you expose them to the variety of goods and prices, you can also ask them to think about the comparison between two visually similar goods of different brands .
For example, what is the difference that you have to pay for an apple from Malaysia as compared to an apple from Australia? Next, ask your child to calculate how many apples you can buy with a limited amount of money. If your child is interested in this game, you can also expand your discussion into the difference between quality and quantity of the apples.
For teenagers above 12 years old:
Send your children to purchase some groceries on your behalf. It may be taunting to “send someone who cannot swim into the sea” but this is one of the most effective methods to teach your children to budget.
Guide them along by providing specific instructions such as quantity but hold back on the brands. Let your children think on their feet as they try to purchase the required list of items based on the fixed sum of money that you have provided. Though your children may take multiple attempts to grasp the concept of spending wisely, it is a good way to instil the importance of money and gain an extra helper around the house!
For young adults above 18 years old:
This is the stage where many of your children are preparing to attend college or moving out of your house for the next stage of their lives.
Give them some freedom over their money. Have them set aside a small amount of money for their “cheat” or indulgence fund and let them spend it on whatever they want. However, ask them to set a budget and review with them over the initial few months. This ensures that they will have both a healthy budget and a balanced life as a young adult.
It is important to have the patience and trust for your children as they embark on the journey of financial literacy. Children often need both the space to explore and someone to guide them back when they are beyond the scope. With some coaching and tips, your children would the opportunity to do even better with their money management.
Joanne graduated from New York University with a Masters of Science in Media, Culture and Communication. Her area of focus was on media perception of women and she had presented her findings in several conferences. Additionally, she has also founded and presided over the Media, Culture and Communication MA Student Association for her department.
Joanne has a strong focus in Communications and Corporate Education. Previously, she has worked in UBS AG as a L&D specialist as well as volunteered her time with several women organizations in Singapore. Her last position as a Digital Marketing Analyst in New York City, USA has provided her with the skill set that enables her to become part of TNS team.
In her free time, Joanne enjoys learning and travelling, making a point to expand her horizons at least once each year. She also enjoys food tasting and community services.