It might seem crazy to start talking to your child about money when they’ve only just discovered that 2+2=4, but it’s a great idea to start their financial education early. A Cambridge University study found that adult money habits are already set by the age of seven – and children learn all about coins and money as part of elementary school math lessons.
Related: Teaching kids about money
Our GoHenry Money Guide explains how to get your child’s financial education off to a flying start by focusing on the four pillars of money management: Earn, Save, Spend, Give. Once you’ve set up a regular allowance payment, they’ll soon get used to spending their own money. Then, when they turn six, they’ll be ready to for their first GoHenry debit card for kids.
Money doesn't grow on trees
Money is a bit of a mystery to the average five year-old. Chances are, they’re more used to seeing you pay for things with your card than with cash – and those packages that turn up at the front door look more like lovely presents than items you’ve bought and paid for. When they have money of their own, it’s probably been given to them for Christmas or their birthday, or they’ve received it as spending money, with no effort required.
Ask your child where money comes from, and you might be surprised by their answer. Some might say that it comes from your pocket, others might know that it comes from the ATM – but few children of this age grasp that money has to be earned.
This simple question is a great way to establish the link between work and money, which is crucial first step in your child’s financial education. You can then enable your child to earn their own money by setting up tasks on your GoHenry app.
Just like a sticker chart, this makes it easy to incentivize them for doing simple tasks like brushing their teeth, putting on their shoes or learning their spellings, as well as helping out around the house by tidying up their toys, laying the table or clearing away the plates after dinner. A small reward works wonders for their motivation – and also helps to introduce the concept of earning.
The GoHenry Money Guide is designed to make financial education easy.
There’s a guide for every age group, so click on the links below to find out what your child needs to know next:
The GoHenry Money Guide: Five important money lessons
The GoHenry Money Guide: Financial education for 7-11 year-olds
The GoHenry Money Guide: Financial education for 11-14 year-olds
The GoHenry Money Guide: Financial education for 14-16 year-olds
The GoHenry Money Guide: Financial education for 16-18 year-olds
Even though we live in an increasingly cashless society, it’s still important for children to get used to handling cash.
Kids enjoy collecting, so saving small change in a jar or piggy bank is a great way to get them used to counting coins. As a bonus, this also helps to introduce the idea of saving: explain that the goal is to fill the jar to the very top – and let them have a few cents so that they can see their savings grow before their eyes. When they’ve reached their goal, help them to transfer the money onto their GoHenry card, where they can add it to an existing savings goal or create a new one in their GoHenry app.
Don’t forget, children learn by doing. So start their financial education by encouraging your child to pay the cashier when they come with you to the local shops to buy milk, bread – or candy! This is a great way to boost their confidence with money.
Related: Teaching children to count money
Spend! Spend! Spend!
It’s great to teach your child about saving – but, believe it or not, it’s just as important to teach them how to spend. This is a key aspect of their financial education, and you need to accept that your child might make a few mistakes along the way.
It’s fine to set some spending limits, but the heart wants what the heart wants. So, if your five year-old longs for Mega Slime, Hatchimals and sticker books, try to bite your lip and let them make their own spending decisions.
Next, help your child to understand the difference between what they want and what they can afford – and explain that the latest LEGO kit could be theirs if they’re prepared to save for it.
Take a minute to set up a saving goal on your GoHenry app, which means that your child can automatically save a portion of their allowance each week. Saving up for something bigger and better also introduces the idea of delayed gratification, which could help them to avoid debt in the future.
Learn to give back
Children usually like the idea of helping others, which means they’re particularly receptive to the idea of donating to charity. As well as being a nice thing to do, this also helps them to understand the value of money and how it can benefit those less fortunate. Young children are more likely to grasp the idea of giving if they do it in a tangible way. So give them coins to put in a donation bucket or let them choose something extra at the supermarket to add to the food bank collection.
Suggest donating clothes and toys that they have outgrown to a local charity, and encourage them to take part in fundraising events at school.
Some children might like to choose a charity to support on a one-off or ongoing basis. If they feel passionately about supporting a cause that’s close to their heart, they can then make a donation via their GoHenry account.
Have fun with money
Playing games is one of the easiest ways to teach children of this age about money. Whether it’s a simple game of shop, a board game like Monopoly Junior (which is a simplified version of the original game), or a cash register toy, they all help to introduce the idea of handling coins and notes, paying for items and receiving change – which means they’ll become more confident about handing the real thing.
Questions kids ask about money