It wasn’t until Myleene Klass started teaching her daughters, Ava, 15, and Hero, 11, some practical life skills that she realised quite how many of us have huge gaps in our knowledge – because none of these things are typically taught at school.
As a result, the former Hear’Say star, who came second in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! back in 2006, has written a book which is packed full of life hacks – including how to manage money.
‘They Don’t Teach This at School’ (HQ, £20), covers the basics of everything from plumbing to motoring, DIY and first aid. Myleene also explains how to write an invoice, manage a household budget, and understand basic finance.
So we asked Myleene to share her thoughts on the best way to talk to kids about money, why financial education is so important – and how her daughters benefit from their GoHenry membership.
The secret to money management
“I’ve been financially independent since the age of 18, and I wish I’d known then that working hard and saving isn’t enough. It takes investment in myself, and building in general – which can’t be done without information and financial education. Also, it’s hard to know who to trust and easy to be steered in the wrong direction.”
The benefits of financial education
“If I’d had more financial education I would have known what to do with my money in a more effective way, and would have felt more prepared in meetings with my accountant, rather than drowning in a sea of paperwork and figures.”
The most important money lesson
“You – and only you – deal with your money. Protect it.”
How to talk to kids about money
“I have discussed money from as early as my children could conceptualise it. I would use pasta pieces to represent money and demonstrate how it’s used and divided up. To kids, it’s just a game as it doesn’t carry emotion or any form of responsibility. Children are often underestimated or caps are put on their learning. This is why I think we need to keep it child friendly, but don’t hide or dismiss finance as adults’ business.”
Money creates freedom and choice
“Children very quickly grasp the idea that without money there are more limitations than if you have it. Many people teach that if you work hard and save you’ll have money, but if your expenditure offsets your earning before you’ve even had a chance to put something aside, then you’ll never be able to move forward. I think far more transparency, honesty and realism is needed to manage expectations and help children progress confidently.”
It’s important to teach girls money skills
“Girls and women make up 52% of the population. In numbers we excel but socially and economically, we do not. This is because traditionally, as home makers and mothers, we have not had the economic power to do so. Additionally, working as carers for our families often falls on women’s shoulders – but is neither respected, appreciated or rewarded in a financial capacity. On the contrary, it often costs us our time and money to work, care for our families and balance our home lives before we’ve even stepped into the official working environment, such as an office. We are finally getting our chance to break through as we now have our own bank accounts and our own jobs – but we still have a long way to go.”
The importance of earning your own money
“From the age of 13 to 17, I taught piano lessons every Saturday, and now my eldest daughter, Ava, does the same: she teaches piano to seven pupils on Saturdays. She’s learned so much from it. Namely, that her time comes at a cost. It’s worth something. Also, she realises the tools required. If she were to teach without my assistance, she would need to rent a room or travel to her pupils, as well as cover the cost of the lighting, heating and the piano itself, the music books and then the admin records required to detail who has paid monthly or weekly for their lessons. It’s not as simple as her time and an exchange of money, and that’s why I have actively encouraged her to do this. It’s her talents and time having a value and the understanding of the admin, organisation and equipment required that goes into having a job. My daughters will know that, in real life, no one goes up to anyone with their hand out, asks for free money, and gets it on tap.”
How GoHenry can help
“GoHenry has given my daughters their own prepaid kids debit card, which is exciting! It’s something they can use to enjoy their money, save and budget with the app, and ultimately exert their choices and independence with my guidance.”
Myleene’s money memories
Q: What’s the first thing you remember buying with your own money?
A: A record: Love Shack by the B52s. And a body top!
Q: Was there a particular toy that you dreamed of owning as a child, but never got?
A: A My Little Pony called Apple Jack.
Q: What was your first job?
A: A backing vocalist.
Q: Can you remember how you spent your first wage?
A: I bought my dad a pint and me an orange juice! When I became famous in a band called Hear’Say, I bought a piano and paid off my student loan.
Q: What’s the best thing you’ve ever spent money on?
A: A family member’s operation, a family member’s degree, and I assisted two friends in buying houses. And my piano!
Q: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A: When I was a kid, a Crystal Barbie. Now I’m a mum, anything my kids make me.
Q: What was your biggest money mistake?
A: Trusting the wrong people.
Q: Please tell us one luxury or treat that you can’t resist spending money on