I got an interesting call today from BBC Childrens’ news programme Newsround. It was following up a story on the launch by pfeg (the personal finance education group) about money education in schools and wanted some MoneySaving Tips for their audience (target age nine-years-old).
Sadly I was hugely disappointed when I saw what pfeg is doing. The headlines said “showing kids how to avoid debts” but the schools they showed were all teaching about running small businesses and buying and selling. How does that teach children about personal money management, debt and relating it to companies? More off target money education (see 500 words to tell politicians about debts blog). Yet, again more disappointing off-target stuff.
For me the crucial information is educating kids how to think and act as consumers and (when they’re a bit older) how debts work. So, in the four tips Newsround wanted my aim was things that aren’t just useable now, but a good way to think about money forever. Here you go:
• A company’s job is to make money. When you go into a supermarket there are always sweets by the tills, just in case you’ve forgotten to ask your parents for some already! Whenever you go into a shop always remember its job is to try and get you to spend your cash, that way they make more money.
In fact it’s also worth playing a game with your kids in the supermarket. Challenge them to spot all the different ways the supermarket tries to persuade and get people to spend more money. They should enjoy the challenge, but also it’ll be educational.
• Save your money and you get paid! There are lots of kids’ bank accounts around. If you put money in an account the bank will actually pay you, this is called interest. It is done because it can then use your money to helps its business, and therefore its will pay you for temporarily letting it use it. However some banks want your money more than others and will pay you more, so always find the bank with the best interest rate. Do that and £100 in bank now could be worth £160 by the time you’re 18.
• Try before you buy. If you want a book, or a game or CD go to a library or video shop to try it out. Often when you really think you want something you may be surprised to find it’s not as much fun as you think once you’ve bought it, but then it’s too late. So why not try it out before you spend too much money and you may decide not to buy it.
• Always ask is it worth it? When you want something, decide if you really, really want it. Whilst a big expensive £50 toy may be exciting, overall you may enjoy ten £5 toys more. Which do you think you’d get more use and fun out of overall?
I think these are a good start point, also see the Newsround web version.