A penny for a spool of thread,
A penny for a needle,
That’s the way the money goes ,
Pop goes the weasel.
………goes the old, favourite children’s rhyme.
And our millennials today need not be told that anything from a needle to a glue gun cost money and that too, more than just a penny.
With increasing consumerism, thanks to e-commerce, advertising and marketing gimmicks and globally mobile population, our kids have more information and options at hand than we had some 5-7 years ago. What was available only on birthdays or on specific festive occasions, are now made available at a drop of the hat (or more precisely, drop of a huge crocodile tear). Demands are satisfied instantly and at the same time, demands keep coming endlessly.
Material objects are rapidly equated to emotional wellbeing.
All this and much more, drive the kids’ attitude and thoughts towards consumption and money matters.
Due to this sea change in the mind set of children and parents alike and their resultant spending patterns, imparting financial education to the kids has become inevitable- Or should I say need of the hour. With changing lifestyles and strong peer pressure, it has become important to sow the seeds of fiscal discipline in children and that too at an early age.
We, as parents work hard at making our young kids proficient at all the aspects of their personality. Then may it be drawing, sports, language skills or their musical abilities. But the life skills of how money is earned, saved and spent are postponed to later stages of their lives; mostly when they are 16-18 years old.
Most college graduates spend 16 years of schooling that will help them earn more money, yet no time is spent teaching them fundamental personal finance lessons.
The time has come when we take financial literacy a little more seriously. We can teach or 9 or 10 year olds about money and its management, so that they can learn to take more educated decisions. They can be taught money management through simply talking to them about it or engaging them in small monetary transactions.
But, in my opinion, the best way to teach them would be to become efficient and responsible money managers ourselves, to lead by example. As parents, we need to bring clarity in the mind of the kids that money is important and hence, it needs to be valued and managed in a fashion that it can help us lead a happier life. However, at the same time, they also need to be educated that money is not an end in itself, but only means to our ends. It cannot be a barometer in gauging the quality of one’s life and relationships.
Truly, parenting is an art, but responsible parenting makes it a fulfilling experience.