The world is your oyster through a child’s eyes. Can you remember what it’s like to be a child, when you look back and see through rose-coloured glasses, not jaded by what the world has to offer or worrying over all manner of things; to a child, all things are possible.
When it comes to our financial outlook on life, ask an adult if they can become a millionaire by next year and their answer will probably be no, but ask a child the same question and you might hear, “Why would it take a whole year?”
This got us thinking about why we don’t encourage money management skills for our children and what is possible when it comes to managing our money better when we’re older? And if we did, could we lessen the financial burden for future generations so that personal unsecured debt – currently at £10,000 for every household in Britain and with nine per cent in excess of £20,000 – is much much lower?
The knowledge gap when it comes to our financial affairs as an adult can have a profound effect and the stress can be immeasurable. Maybe with a healthy attitude to childhood money matters and learning vital long-term money management skills it would be increasingly possible to pave the way for a life of making financial decisions with confidence and coping with the inevitable headwinds that may come along, helping to also reduce the fifth of Brits who say they are sometimes unable to pay their debts on time.
Most children, however, appear to learn very little from their school or parents, with fewer than half aged seven to seventeen receiving financial education in school and only a third of parents involving their children in household finances.
If we are to better prepare younger generations to deal with their finances, maybe the proverbial buck shouldn’t rest solely with schools, but parents; particularly give the stark research that shows three in five parents do not necessarily think that their own money management is the best example. Add to that the fact 44 per cent admit they are not confident about managing their own money and 50 per cent say they don’t save funds regularly.
Living month to month is undoubtedly miserable. Saving money isn’t easy and some situations make it impossible, not least for the millions of children in the UK living in families trapped by debt. But what if our childhood experiences encouraged and motivated us as adults to do everything possible to manage our money wisely?
Children are interested in learning as much as they can and automatically have a positive attitude towards things. They’re eager to try something new, especially if they see it as an adventure, so how easy would it be to start thinking of mundane tasks in life as an adventure that could positively shape our attitudes about personal finance?