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 son/daughter 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.
- Discuss news stories related to the economy and finance with your son/daughter. Talk about the causes of the recession and how it has affected your family - directly and indirectly. Discuss what the government has done to try to ease the recession.
- Discuss your son/daughter's financial goals and help them to put together a savings plan to achieve them.
- Show family payslips or tax returns to your son/daughter, showing deductions made for National Insurance Contributions and Income Tax. If you have a private pension, discuss how this is organised.
- Talk through other financial documents, such as insurance policies, bank statements (showing interest) or mortgage documents.
- If travelling abroad, get your son/daughter involved in the exchange of money - investigating the best rates and commission charges. They could also help with budgeting for the trip.
- Discuss different sources of financial advice available and how reliable it is.
- As a family, get involved in a charity event, fundraising activity or sponsorship programme.
- As your son/daughter may also be thinking about his or her career, help them to research the qualifications they will need for their chosen career. Which GCSEs or A-levels will they need? Help them write their first CV - you can find sample CVs here .
- 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: