At GoHenry, we want the next generation to grow up with the skills they need to manage their money. These are the skills that will give them the confidence to build a great future… and avoid becoming the next Generation Debt.
We understand that it’s sometimes tricky talking to kids about money. If you don’t feel especially confident about your own money management skills, it can be difficult to know where to start with your child’s financial education. That’s why we’ve created The GoHenry Money Guide.
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to be a financial whiz to teach your child how money works. We believe that there are four pillars of money management – Earn, Save, Spend and Give – and we’ve come up with five simple ways to help kids grasp the basics.
Practice what you preach
Whatever their age, your child is already forming their future money habits. And, like most things, they learn these from you. You might think they’re too young to notice, but it’s great for them to see you checking the bill in restaurants, making sure you’ve been given the right change, or shopping around to make sure that you get the best price. If you want to teach your child about spending, saving and delayed gratification, it’s important to practice what you preach.
Remember to talk about money in an age-appropriate way: explain the link between work and money, introduce the concept of paying bills and budgeting – and make it clear that we can’t always buy all the things we want, at least not right away.
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:
Show them the money
We live in an increasingly cashless society where kids are used to seeing us pay with the tap of a card. As a result, money is becoming an increasingly abstract concept for them to grasp.
We created GoHenry to ensure kids aren’t excluded from the digital economy. We give children their own card and banking app, meaning they can get a grip on digital basics like savings, spending logs and regular payments. But, to get the full picture on money, kids still need to understand cash.
As a starting point, play shopping games with young children, and give them the opportunity to pay with coins and paper bills at your local store. This helps familiarize kids with the concept of receiving change and shows them the amount of cash reduces as they spend.
We suggest giving children a set amount of allowance money each week that they have to manage themselves. Our data reveals that most allowance or spending money is paid on a Friday (43%) or Saturday (33%), so that it’s ready for the weekend. Explain that they are responsible for looking after their GoHenry card – and remind them that once their money has gone, it’s gone for good.
Giving children the opportunity to earn their own money for doing everyday tasks around the house teaches them valuable lessons about working and earning that will set them up for life. Before they’re old enough to get a part-time job, they could earn a small amount of money for tidying their room, doing the dishes or feeding a pet. With younger children, you could encourage good behavior – and good habits – such as going to bed without a fuss, brushing their teeth or practicing their spelling. It’s not important how much they earn, as even a small amount will teach them about the value of work.
“I now think much more carefully before I buy something as I want my money to last. I have to work really hard to earn the money each week with my chores, so I don’t just want to spend it really quickly without thinking about it.” Carys, age 9
Make saving special
Saving is one of the trickiest concepts to teach kids – why should they wait weeks (or sometimes months) to buy something they want, when they could enjoy spending all their money today?
You can help children to see the benefit of putting money aside simply by setting up a savings goal. This needs to be tangible and achievable so that every penny they save takes them closer to buying whatever is top of their wishlist.
Talk about their progress and celebrate when they’ve reached their goal – once they’ve experienced the excitement of buying something special with their own money, they’ll want to do it all over again.
“My parents suggested I set up a savings goal but it’s my choice how much I put in it. I often put extras from chores in, too. It’s really satisfying watching it build up and knowing that it is me that has created that.” Tom, age 11
Donating and giving back is a very personal issue – but children develop a greater understanding of the value of money when they get a sense of how it can benefit others.
There are lots of different ways to teach your child about giving: they could sponsor a friend or family member, take part in a fundraising activity like a fun run or cake sale, donate clothes and toys to charity, or volunteer at community events. On a more personal level, they could treat a friend to an ice cream, or buy them some candy when they’re short of money.
Older kids and teens might decide to donate money to charity on a one-time or ongoing basis. This is a great exercise in financial decision-making: they might want to donate to a high-profile cause like Boys & Girls Clubs of America, or perhaps they’d prefer to support an environmental charity or a local animal sanctuary.
Encourage them to get involved and support their efforts – they’ll soon discover that giving is a rewarding thing to do.