Making your kids financially literate

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Making your kids financially literate


Arrival of a kid may be the most wonderful and joyful moment in any parent’s life. Along with joy this brings additional responsibility. Making your kid financial savvy forms an important part of modern day parenting.

Just as for any multistorey building it is important to have strong base, it is important for your kid to gain knowledge about finance and investment right from his/her childhood days to be financially mature & informed. Right from automobile to electronics to real estate to FMCG companies, all are targeting this segment as children play very important role in buying decision of their parents. Just as it is important to inculcate good values and virtues, it is equally important to focus on financial literacy for your kids. Making them understand about money matters and finance can help them build strong investment base right from early stage of their life, allowing them to reap benefits later.

Different kids at different age groups need to trained in different way. Let us try to understand how money or finance related matters can be explained to kids in different age group.

Kids in 3 to 5 Year Age Group:
Make them understand about basics of money. Very first thing which they need to understand is what is money and importance of money. Why money is needed to buy everything.

Kids in 6 to 10 Year Age Group:
Kids start going to school and start interacting with outside world. They get more involved with their friends at school. There are few very important lessons to be teach at this stage. Like making the kid understand difference between need and want, importance of savings, basic skills of negotiations etc.

Here you can prepare a chart and put all essential items like food and grocery purchase, milk, house rent, electricity, clothes, fuel, school fees etc in essential item circle called ‘Need’ section of the chart and other items like eating out, going to movie, buying toys etc in non essential item circle called ‘Want’.

Even though Rakesh and Rajesh invest more money than Rajeev, their final retirement corpus is significantly lesser compared to Rajeev. This is the benefit of starting early and allowing the power of compounding to work in your favour.

Create 3 jars or boxes :
one for income, one for spending and last one for saving. Ask the kid to move money from income jar to spending jar whenever he wants to spend and transfer balance to saving jar.

Ask the kid to put whatever he/she earns on birthday celebrations, festivals like Holi and Diwali or through gifts in income jar. After spending on his/her books, stationary or any other miscellaneous items inculcate habit of transferring balance to saving jar. This will allow the kid to understand that we need to spend within our limits of income and positive balance should be left in income jar in an order to save.

Very important to make your kid understand about usage of ATM card. Importance of keeping the card and PIN safe and secured. Make him/her understand that ATM card is only one mode of withdrawing your own money from bank account. ATM machine is not giving you free money. Also open a savings bank account in kids name. There are many banks now a days which are offering junior account with basic banking facility like cheque book or ATM card.

Kid in 11 – 14 Year Age Group:
After making your kid financially aware about basic things related to money and concept of saving, now is the time to take things one level higher. At this age you can start discussing little more complicated but very important things with your kid.

You can start discussing with your kids about concepts of compounding. Importance of early start of investing in life to take maximum advantage of compounding.

Just as knowledge of compounding is important, knowledge of inflation is unavoidable. How inflation eats into the value of money and how it affects both investment as well as day to day life. Make the kid understand about why it is important for any investment to beat inflation to grow your money.

Usage of Credit Card:
Kids at this age are more exposed to internet and online world. Discuss about concepts of credit card, online payment and internet banking. Credit card is only mean to make transactions conveniently. Make your kid understand about not spending through credit card on something which you can not pay in cash later. One falls in debt trap if he/she spends beyond ones paying capacity. Discuss about high penalty and interest rates charged by credit card companies on late payment and how one’s credit score gets negatively affected.

Also discuss danger of providing personal data online and not sharing confidential information like passwords and fraud e mails in name of lottery winning, free holiday trips etc. Not to respond to these type of mails by providing account number / ATM Card, Credit Card number or PIN.

Kids in 15 – 18 Year Age Group:
This is the time when kids start preparing for their higher studies. Once the kid decides on type of course to pursue, you can ask the kid to calculate total cost involved for the course across different colleges which includes not only college fees but also study material cost, tuition fees, hostel expense if college is in different city as well as commutation cost. Kids can calculate the entire cost of the course across various colleges, compare and decide on his/her own. Also discuss about concept of education loan and pros and cons of taking education loan.

Adult Kids 18+ :
These are grown up kids either still studying or about to join work force in few years time. There are two very important lessons at this stage :

  • Importance of Insurance
  • Importance of Taxes

Explain concept of different kind of insurance like life insurance (term plan), health insurance, motor vehicle insurance etc. The best way to make the kid understand the concept is to take a term plan and medical insurance in kids name, involve him/her at every stage right from comparing different plans to premium payment to understanding policy document. Put responsibility of paying premium on your kid if he/she has already started earning.

Also importance of taxes while making any financial decision. Simple concept from filing income tax return, the importance of filing return and impact of taxes on investment return.

Educating your kid on financial matters is an ongoing process. Unfortunately our education system does not focus on practical aspect of finance world at primary or higher education level. The onus is on parents to educate their kids about financial matters so that they enter the professional world fully prepared.

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