Teaching My Child About Money
As a mother to a curious but adorable six year old, there are many talks I’m dreading – the inevitable “mommy where do babies come from” talk, the “why do boys have penises and girls have vaginas” talk, the sex talk, the girls and dating talk, the list of talks is endless and unfortunately at some point in his life, we must cover all these topics. There is however one talk I can’t wait to have with my son and that is the “money talk”. Matter of fact, I started talking to him about finances long before he even came into the world. Starting around the four month mark of my pregnancy, I’d lay a hand on my belly and talk to him about money. Weird and a tad extreme? Possibly, but this is my baby and I want him to be as prepared for the future as he possibly can be. So, how am I teaching my toddler about finances?
For starters, he knows not to spend any coins he gets. Instead, at the end of the day he gathers up any coins he accumulated throughout the day and deposits them into his piggy bank. Every few months we carry his piggy bank down to the bank and trade his coins in for cash which is then deposited into an account he won’t be able to access until he is of legal age.
My son does not get an allowance now and he certainly will not get one as he gets older. There are chores I expect him to do without any monetary compensation like cleaning up his room and vacuuming (which he absolutely loves and does really well) but in the near future, I’ll want him to do heavier chores like washing my car and since this is something I’d normally pay someone else for, I’ll pay him for it. This is a “teaching moment” that will allow me to explain to him the three basics of finance – investing, saving and giving. Since he doesn’t have any financial responsibilities yet, I’ll teach him about investing in companies and products he believes in, saving a portion for the future and the importance of giving back especially to the less fortunate.
One of the things my son loves to do is assist with grocery shopping and I take great pleasure in teaching him about bargains. Perhaps the thing that impresses me most is that at just five he learned never to buy anything at eye level and that one saves a lot more by buying store brands as opposed to the national brands. One of my proudest moments as a mother came the day he stood in the middle of a supermarket aisle and grabbed a couple of store brand chilli tins while saying “why buy expensive brands when there is almost no difference between them and store brands?”. I quickly looked away from him so he wouldn’t see the tears of pride forming in my eye.
I can’t protect my child from every little thing out there but I can equip him with the knowledge he needs to survive out in the world and as long as he remembers every single financial lesson I’ve taught him – especially the facts that he has to spend way less than he earns, he absolutely must save and that bargain shopping is his friend, I know without a doubt, my boy will be just fine.