Financial Role Modelling. Are you doing it right? By Helene Rodger

A few weeks ago at EIE, I was inspired by Prof Sue Black and her story and I thought I should write a blog about how we as parents influence our children in many ways but especially with financial habits. As a child, I looked up to my parents and saw what they did. My dad was a local leader in the community, always teaching and educating his community on different topics among which was politics, wellbeing, rights and responsibilities. Turns out, I am almost exactly like that with regards to a love of building communities and bringing people together to achieve a common goal.

My mum on the hand was super entrepreneurial. Even though my mum had no formal education, she was super street smart and I would say; the brain behind our family businesses although she gave my dad all the credit. I take my entrepreneurial spirit from my mummy. She saw opportunities where no one saw them. I remember she helped our family to buy 25 acres of land at super minimal value. She used that land for farming and proceeds from this was used to educate all her 9 children plus all the huge extended family and orphans. She and her husband ensured that we all attended very good schools. The good schools were expensive and her entrepreneurial skills ensured our education was catered for.

Why do I say this? If we look closely, a lot of our behaviours, values and characters are built at home. Therefore, being aware of these behaviours and their influences can help you shape your child’s future by ensuring that they learn responsible financial habits from you.

Here are two tips on how you can help your children learn healthy financial habits:

Set the right example

When it comes to managing finances and financial advise, research shows that many young people turn to family and friends as these are the people they trust the most. So, if you’re the type of person who saves up to buy something, then it’s more likely that your children will do the same. If on the other hand, you’re quick to turn to credit to fund non-essential purchases, your children are likely to follow in your footsteps.

A good way of setting the right example is by including your children in some of your day to day financial decisions like food shopping. Here, they start to work out the value of things, for example, before you go out shopping, get them to write out the shopping list and have a guess at the prices while in the shops. This doesn’t only teach them to learn but its fun too! There is always got to be a winner! Such techniques help them to be price sensitive as they grow up and look out for good value.

It’s also a good idea to be open with your children about some of the financial mistakes you made growing up. My children love to hear my growing up stories, my money stories and my business stories. They still can’t believe we didn’t have a TV and that I attended boarding school! Sharing your tales of woes can be a good way to highlight the dangers of poor money management. Whether this means telling them about the time you couldn’t afford to fix the car after it broke down, or how not getting money in the bank in time costing you a fee. These are life lessons that will always be at the back of their minds and you never know when they will come in handy.

Pocket money

For many children, pocket money is the first taste of financial responsibility.
Our kids love it when they get pocket money, but they will not spend it as they prefer to spend mum and Dad’s money! We often will go to the shop and they will choose something that is not on the list. I wait till we get to the till and ask them to pay. Almost without argument, they will take it back. Their expectation would have been that I would always pay! One time when we went on Holiday, Ethan and Kaylah who are super money savvy (apples don’t fall very far from the trees), went to the gift shop and influenced everyone to pick items. Some were really lovely thoughtful souvenirs and some were toys for themselves.

On every holiday we take them, they receive spending money; some which they save and some which we give them. On one of these holidays, the youngest of them came to get one of the adults to pay for their chosen items. The adults made them aware that this would be coming out of their pocket money budget. Once they realised they were responsible for paying for the items, they had to rethink their decision. This was a very valuable lesson and good timing because from that day on, they look at prices, know how long the money should last and even ask the adults for advice.

Providing your children with a regular, set amount of money and the responsibility of paying for something they want gives them their first opportunity to practice how to stay within a budget.

Research shows that in the UK, children receive £2.7bn pound in pocket money every year without financial education. There is extensive research that also shows that most parents are not confident in teaching their children about money. That’s why @moneymatix, we have a vision to support communities develop and sustain healthy financial habits by creating financially literate communities.
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