Welcome to the golden age of allowance. This is the stage when money becomes fun: counting coins, saving up and spending their own money makes elementary school children feel grown up and independent. At this point, most kids become consumers for the first time, so they’ll need your help to become savvy spenders.
If you want to focus on your child’s financial education and boost their money confidence, but you’re not sure where to start, simply focus on gohenry’s four pillars of money management: Earn, Save, Spend, Give.
The best way to begin your child’s financial education is to pay them regular allowance or spending money. The amount that you pay isn’t important – what matters is that they have their own money to spend.
Although kids need to learn how to handle cash and coins, most of us use cards to pay for the majority of our purchases. A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston showed the American consumers paid mostly with cash (31% of payments), followed by debit cards (27%), and credit cards (18%). And debit cards, credit cards, and e-commerce adoption is growing, with reports that show as many as 86% of Americans say they sometimes use cards to make purchases.
For this reason, it’s vital for your child to learn how card payments work – and paying pocket money into their gohenry account empowers them to access the digital economy.
When you go to the shops, stand back and let your child use their gohenry card, then remind them to check their gohenry app afterwards so that they can keep track of their spending, and see how much money they have left.
This builds confidence and reinforces the message that they’re in control of their own money and responsible for their spending decisions.
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:
Explain the difference between want and need
Even as adults, we sometimes struggle to know the difference between the things we want and the things we need – but, for children of this age, ‘need’ and ‘want’ are interchangeable.
Talk to your child about what it means to need something: we can’t survive without food, shelter and clothing, but we can get by quite nicely without another takeout pizza, a Nintendo Switch or the latest pair of Nike shoes. As a basic introduction to budgeting, help your child to understand that we all have to make spending choices – when we decide to buy one thing, we usually have to do without another.
Make it clear that we have to work hard to earn money to buy the things we want – then give your child the opportunity to earn their own money by completing paid tasks. Explain that some tasks pay more than others because they’re more valuable – or more time consuming. It’s easy to set up tasks on your gohenry app, and your child will receive their payment when they’ve been marked complete.
“When I first got my gohenry card I’d want to go to the shops as soon as I got any money. I liked buying jewelery, hair clips, lip gloss or maybe a pony magazine. But then I started to realize that if I saved up for a while I could buy something better that I actually really wanted.” Carys, age 9
Children of this age really struggle with delayed gratification: when they want something, they want it RIGHT NOW. As the average elementary school kid has expensive tastes, they quickly learn that this isn’t always possible – and that’s a bitter pill to swallow.
This is a good opportunity to teach a valuable money lesson. It doesn’t matter if your child has got their eye on a new book, NBA 2K21, or a skateboard – help them to set a savings goal and work out exactly how long it’ll take them to buy whatever is top of their wishlist. Encourage them to use their gohenry app to watch their savings grow, week by week. You could even match the amount they’ve saved, or pay them interest. This will keep them motivated – and help them reach their goal a little bit faster.
“I like saving a lot. I once saved up for about 12 weeks to buy some new LEGO.” Morgan, age 9
Give to local charities
The best way to teach your child about giving and donating is to get them involved on a personal level. As part of their financial education, explain exactly what charities do and how they help people in need – then join in with volunteering or local fundraising efforts that have a direct impact on your community. The more your child understands how their time, money and donations can help, the more likely they are to engage.
Make money fun
If your kids zone out when you try to talk about money, they’re more likely to get the message by playing money-related games. Financial education can be fun; old favourites like Monopoly and Game of Life can teach them the importance of budgeting and spending wisely, but video games like Minecraft might do a better job of holding their attention. Minecraft players have to get to grips with lots of different currencies, like emeralds that you can dig up and trade with villagers, so they quickly learn about exchange rates, spending and savings.
Your kids were right – there are some benefits to gaming after all!