This article is from Rochelle over at Pinay and Money. She’s an advocate of women achieving financial freedom, and I thought she’d be a great resource person to help us teach our kids about money. Do visit her blog—you’re sure to pick up a lot of financial tips.
The idea of parents discussing money with their children is a disturbing, if not, horrifying thought. Money, along with sex and relationships, are topics that most Filipinos don’t want to touch for reasons such as discomfiture or lack of knowledge.
But I believe that children should learn about money and, eventually, the state of their family finances. My mom was like most moms who shy away from discussing it, but my dad was more upfront. He taught me a lot of money principles and was never afraid of discussing the family finances.
It’s never too early to teach children about money. You can incorporate these money concepts in your kids’ games or teach them using ordinary events. We’ll show you some of the ways you can do this:
1. Familiarize them with money. For younger kids, start introducing coins to them. When your kids play house or with dolls, use coins in the story, e.g. Barbie asking Ken to buy food from the store, etc. You can introduce paper bills as they get older.
2. Give a piggy bank as a gift. You can encourage your kids to start saving by giving them a piggy bank. A friend made a deal with her kids that whatever amount they save in their piggy banks, she would double it on Christmas. I think this is a great way to teach kids about the value of interest. But Christmas can be a little too long and your kids may get impatient. I suggest you do this periodically (quarterly or every other month).
3. Bring your kids with you when you shop. This is a great way to teach your children about money. When paying for stuff, you can ask your child to help. Give him your wallet and ask him to get the amount needed. Or if the amount is a little too big for his comprehension, ask him to pick out the coins.
4. Introduce the concept of allowance. When your kid reaches school age, you can also start giving him an allowance. You can start small, just enough to buy a snack. Do set some guidelines on how your child should spend money like no buying of sodas, etc. And just like the concept of piggy banks, you can also encourage your kids to save 10 percent of his allowance with the guarantee of matching it periodically.
5. Open a passbook account for older kids. My parents opened my first savings account when I was 12 and this shaped my love for savings accounts.
6. Give money as an incentive for great grades. Some parents would probably frown on this but it worked for me. For every grade of 90 and higher, I received PhP10 from my dad. It motivated me to study hard and as a result, I never had any grade lower than 85.
7. Learn to say no. When kids ask for expensive stuff like iPods, game consoles, etc., some parents find it hard to say no. Trust me on this one: learn to say no. I learned to save money because my parents didn’t give everything I asked for even though they could afford it. Books are the only things that my parents allowed me to buy regularly.
8. Encourage charitable giving. Whether money, clothes or food items, it’s always best to teach kids to give to charity. Not only is this a good way to declutter your kids’ stuff, it is also important to teach kids that money (and other material things) should be shared with others.
9. Teach older kids about credit. Our family has a rule. When you borrow money, you must pay it back. Whether it’s on an installment basis or one-time payment, your kids must learn that when they take out a loan (from you, a sibling or a friend), they need to pay it back. When they become older and have credit cards of their own, trust me, this is one lesson you would be glad that you taught them.
10. Parents should always pay in cash. Using credit cards teach kids a distorted about money. Remember that your kids see you when you use credit cards in exchange of purchases but they do not see that you pay for them. If you want your kids to be financially responsible, you need to explain to them that every time you swipe that credit card, you pay for it at the end of the month. This brings me to my next trick.
11. Include your kids when paying the bills. Whether you’re paying online or queuing in Bayad Center, make sure your kids see you do it. What you are essentially teaching them is that utilities need to be paid for. These are not free and kids must not use these utilities, like electricity, water and phone credits, wastefully.
12. Set a family goal. It’s usually the parents’ responsibility to set goals like a major vacation or a big-ticket purchase. Try including your kids when you want to save up for a trip. Ask them to pitch in by saving a few pesos from their allowance or contribute by researching on how much to spend for tickets, transpo fares, etc.