Here are the tools your kids need to become Financial Superheroes
It is great that the amount of tools and resources available to help teach kids about money is increasing. There are now more financial education courses and charities. There are more money related games. There are money related apps. More kid saving accounts. All with the intention of helping improve the financial wellbeing of the next generation. This is very much needed.
The purpose of this article is to emphasise that all these tools and resources still require your help as parents to ensure your kids form good money habits.
Compare this to getting healthy. You could try a new gym or a new diet or watch documentaries about being healthy. However, unless you use these resources to change your habits, you aren't going to be any healthier over the long-term. The same applies to wealth.
It is the money habits that our kids form that will determine their future financial wellbeing:
People who don’t earn a lot can be financially secure if they have good habits.
People who earn a lot can be in financial stress if they have bad habits.
Even those that have all the financial knowledge but still don’t adopt good habits can face financial stress.
Therefore, when you are using these different tools and resources, please keep in mind what the final outcome should be … to help our kids form good money habits.
When it comes to money habits, it’s not 50/50 whether your kids will form good or bad habits. If you don’t teach them the good ones, the default is that they are very likely to form bad ones.
There is now a whole industry helping to fix bad money habits
There is a now a whole industry of ‘financial coaches’ who work with adults who have been losing thousands of pounds (or dollars etc.) because they have formed poor money habits. There isn’t a particular trend in who these coaches are helping. Their clients include people with materially different ages, earnings, family wealth and education levels. All of them have picked up poor money habits over time and are now looking for help.
Most of the bad habits people pick up are due to not saving, spending more than they earn and not knowing how much money they have.
This is why it is so important for kids to form good money habits early on.
I will go through different tools and resources to highlight how you can use them to form good money habits.
What habits should you help your kids form?
I’ve written blogs on what I believe are the three main habits (Link to full blogs at the end). In short:
Get them to save at least 10% of the money they receive for the long-term
Get them to save up for something they ‘want’
Get them to record how much money they have each month
These three simple money habits should help your kids avoid the mistakes that so many people make with money.
Using tools and resources to help form good money habits
Let’s now go through some of the different tools and resources to help parents teach their kids good money habits:
I believe pocket money is the most underrated financial tool out there for kids. Parents can allow children to manage money, regardless of how small, from a young age. You can use pocket to help form all three of the habits listed above. The key is to speak with your kids when giving them pocket money to help them form good habits. If left on their own, pocket money can be used to form bad habits, such as spending it all as soon as you get it on things you don’t really want or need.
The above is also true for pre-paid debit card apps. Make sure you speak to your kids and avoid them just developing a spending habit.
Example: Pocket money and pre-paid apps include:
Saving for your kids:
It’s great that parents save for their kids to help them out financially when they become adults. The key point to note is that your kids are likely to get more benefit from witnessing and learning from these savings than the actual savings themselves. So make sure you tell them about the savings regularly. Help them see that you can ‘save money to make money’ via compound interest (i.e. earning interest on the interest already earned).
If they don’t see this money grow then there is a risk of them forming bad habits when they receive these savings, such as spending beyond their means and, not working as hard as they could have done versus if they had received no financial support.
If you are investing your kid’s savings then definitely make sure you share this information with them. The ability to witness investments over the long-term is a massive advantage.
Example tools to help include:
Financial education in school:
Like I said at the start, I love that more schools and charities are now helping kids learn about money. The key is to help your kids take what they have learnt and consider what this means in terms of forming good money habits. Financial education is very much ‘use it or lose it’ so make sure you regularly talk to your kids and get them use these lessons to form good money habits.
Examples of charities and resources include:
Games and apps:
There are some great games for kids to play which can really help kids form good habits. Make sure they realise this when playing, as it won’t jump out at them, they will just see it as a game.
Monopoly (or Monopoly Deal) are great examples where people can play for hours but miss the important learning. For example, make sure you explain to your kids that they should have enough cash in case of emergency before they start buying things. At the other extreme, make sure they know not to hoard cash but put that cash to work by investing to make the money grow. Don’t let these opportunities to help your kids form good money habits pass you by.
A link to recommended games to play to help your kids form good money habits can be found at the end of this blog.
Help your kids form great money habits to improve their future financial wellbeing. Use all the resources and tools available to you with the aim of forming these habits rather than assuming that just by using them it will automatically lead to your kids being better off financially.
I’m currently working on a ‘Habit Maker’ tool to help parents teach their kids good money habits over time. Please subscribe to our blog to hear more about this tool as it is being developed.
Thanks for reading!
Book recommendation on this topic: The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason
Game recommendations: Here
Other related blogs: