While children and young people should be developing knowledge and skills about money at school, parents play an important role in supporting their learning and helping them see practical examples of financial documents and the spending and earning of money. It's important to help young people understand that money isn't everything but it can make life easier, so they should treat it carefully.
Here are some suggestions of things you can do to help your child/children become more financially capable and able to manage money well:
- Involve them as much as possible in household finances and budgeting (e.g. explain the ways bills are laid out; talk them through financial decisions, like taking out insurance or obtaining licences; get them to create the shopping list and help to select which items to buy in the supermarket, calculating the cost as they go; sit down with them to put together a monthly budget for themselves or for the family).
- Teach your child to be a 'critical consumer' - discuss advertising that you see on TV or in magazines to make them aware of 'advertisers' tricks' or business strategies like supermarkets putting sweets by the till. Talk about getting value for money and ethical shopping.
- Always set a good example yourself by showing that you plan, budget, spend carefully and save.
- Have them read The Teenager's Guide to Money produced by Nationwide Building Society. Click on the relevent link to download various components of the book:
In the home
- Discuss news stories related to the economy, finance and the Credit Crunch with your child.
- Familiarise yourself with financial terms so that you can help to explain these to your child.
- Discuss your child's financial goals and help them to put together a savings plan to achieve them.
- Show family payslips or tax returns to your child, showing deductions made for National Insurance Contributions and Income Tax.
- Talk through other financial documents, such as insurance policies, bank statements (showing interest) or mortgage documents.
- If you have a private pension, discuss how this is organised.
- If they have a building society or bank account, get them to check their monthly statement and also cross-reference it with shopping receipts, bills or other records of spending.
Out and about
- Point out discounts, bargains and offers when out shopping and whether these are worthwhile purchases.
- If travelling abroad, get your child involved in the exchange of the money - investigating the best rates and commission charges. They could also help with budgeting for the trip.
- Communicate with your child's teachers about they type of topics they are learning at school so that you can discuss these further or help put the information into real-life contexts. You could also talk through the information on the fact sheets and work sheets.
- As a family, get involved in a charity event, fundraising activity or sponsorship programme.