Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Financial literacy isn’t a skill that we are born with. Learning how to manage money effectively means acquiring a few important life lessons that parents can pass on to their children from a relatively young age. With home schooling on the agenda for many families at the moment, one perfect way to engage your children, a skill vital for everyday life, is financial education.
Money doesn't grow on trees
Encourage children to handle cash as soon as possible to help them recognise its value and to plan how to save some of their pocket money, so that they can save up to buy a new toy or book with their own money.
After all, good things come to those who wait, teaching delayed gratification is a great lesson. Children need to realise that you work to earn money and that it simply does not pop out of the wall at the cashpoint.
Lead by example
Talk to your children about how much things cost and set a good example; your financial behaviour will lead the way. It’s important for children to understand what budgeting means, to teach responsibility with money.
If you demonstrate responsible buying by creating a budget before you go shopping, comparing prices, using money saving vouchers and curbing impulse purchases, you can lead by example.
Dividing money into different pots is a useful way to demonstrate only spending the money you have, as it helps your child to visualise where their money is going. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
Saving for the future
Junior Individual Savings Accounts (JISAs) are a good way for children to learn about the benefits of saving money for the future. Once the person who has parental responsibility for a child has opened the account, anyone can contribute to it, up to an annual limit (£9,000 this tax year). This means that the child can learn more about money management by saving some of their pocket money and watching it grow, before gaining control of it at age 16.
The money cannot be withdrawn until the child is 18, at which point, the account is automatically rolled over into an adult ISA, a valuable facility for those who want to continue saving or investing tax-efficiently.
Teach a life skill
Due to limited curriculum time, only four in 10 children and young adults currently receive financial education lessons. According to The Financial Capability Strategy, children’s attitudes to money are well-developed by the age of seven. Research confirms that children who receive a formal financial education are more likely to be money confident and have a bank account, understand debt, be capable of saving, and generally have the skills needed to make the most of their money in the future.
Simple things like playing family board games together that promote financial literacy; games such as ‘Cashflow 101’ and the ever-popular ‘Monopoly’, which now has junior versions, are a good starting point.
The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. This information is based on our current understanding of the rules for the 2020/21 tax year.
HM Revenue and Customs practice and the law relating to taxation are complex and subject to individual circumstances and changes which cannot be foreseen.