How can I help my Child with Financial Education?

I'm sure you've heard of financial literacy, but have you ever thought about what it actually means?


Just last night, I was exchanging e-mails with someone who told me how confused she was because there’s so much talk about financial literacy but no one ever defines it properly, nor help us teach it to our children.  The growing concern of many parents is not only how to make them financially successful but financially savvy as well. 

Being financial literate means you make informed and effective financial decisions, including knowing when and who to ask for help. 

Ironically the education system rarely teaches our kids how to practically manage income and spending.  Furthermore, in today’s technologically advanced world, cash is becoming invisible, and talking about money is a taboo for many families, leaving little room to respond to our children's questions about every-day transactions.

On a positive note, one of the principles that I highly appreciate in the Swiss education system is self-reliance.  And still while children learn to be independent, prompt and to be vigilant of external dangers as they walk to and from school each day, there is no one systematically teaching them about how to prioritise their cash spending. 

True self-reliance comes when an adult and child can understand the concepts of spending, saving and donating, in order to feel genuinely free and not just a consumer. 

Traditionally, as parents and carers, we encourage our kids to become literate through reading, writing and talking together.  Why not foster financial literacy too? By incorporating the general concepts on money, exchange and values, in the subject matter.  

Being rich is not a requirement for financial education, nor is it necessary to be a financial expert yourself.  It also does not mean that you have all the answers. It simply means committing to being honest about your intentions and  financial resources, while knowing how to ask for help should you need it. 

Most importantly it is about talking to your kids about money in an age-appropriate way, being open, and embracing the philosophy that learning how to money is much more important than how much money people have.

My work as a financial coach to busy moms is helping them to be the best money role model they can be in their families and communities and feel confident to raise financially secure kids.

Here are some key principles to keep in mind on a daily basis:

  • Make money visible to kids by using cash where possible
  • Talk aloud about what you are doing & buying with money your money, and why
  • Keep a positive or at least neutral language around money
  • Focus always on how to money not how much money 

There different activities that can nurture financial literacy in children by age that you can choose from 

The Early Years, 0 – 4

  • Take kids along when grocery shopping, and pay in cash where possible
  • Play shop at home
  • Read aloud age-appropriate books that introduce the basic concepts of money, saving and making decisions
  • Consider creating a toy purse with fake money

Primary School Age, 5-11

  • Foster financial responsibility with a weekly cash allowance
  • Allocate any money kids received into Spend, Save, Share jars
  • Let them hand over cash in shops for you
  • Play family board games that use money & teach basic financial concepts
  • Explain things you may take for granted – ATMs, debit cards, banks
  • Maths; simple questions using money and real coins, count savings
  • Ask your kids simple questions about money and encourage them to do likewise
  • Continue to read age-appropriate books with them that introduce the basic concepts of money, saving, values and making decisions

Older Children, 12-16

  • Talk about needs vs wants
  • Increase monthly allowance, as it corresponds to increased responsibility
  • Incentivise additional saving by matching contributions
  • Consider paying kids to do work you would pay others for  
  • Encourage participation in Young Entreprise Schemes, Sponsored events, Garage Sales 
  • Consider setting up an online Bank Account and teach them how to use it together
  • Explain the concept of interest, budgeting and planning, goal setting
  • Maintain; Keep up previous work especially talking about money, reading together

About the Author

Sophie is a money coach for modern mums who want to feel more in control of their financial lives. Through her work at Financially Secure Mothers she’s here to shake up your approach to managing your money wherever you are financially and to give you the confidence to raise the next generation of financially literate kids. Her philosophy is to focus on how to money rather than how much money because more money itself is not the answer. And when she is not coaching you can find her music making with her daughter, practicing penalty kicks with her son and when the house is dark and finally quiet enjoying a good podcast. Find out more about Sophie and get ready to organise, optimise and own your money here.


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