Children’s Economic Literacy
Today spend thriftness, consumerism and lavish life style are a cause of concern. Newspapers are filled with reports on juvenile crimes likes kidnapping friends for extortion,sometimes killing them. It makes us numb. Grand-children played with their grand Parents when they were tiny tots, dare to kill them for money or flat. God only knows where the world is headed! The entire world is moving towards Materialistic/Physical pleasures. We have become numb, selfish, senseless. Is it so trivia to forget with time. Do these children have criminal background? Are they influenced by TV serials which show a lot of crime and violence?
Psychologists, Psychiatrists and psychoanalysts do not endorse this. Its saddening that parents do not realise nor visualise the concept of enjoying life of their children.This is the reason why parents should take extra effort to improve economic literacy or economic quotient of their children right from the childhood. I know it is difficult to imbibe these thoughts in you or your friends. Let’s therefore discuss economic Literacy-When & How?
Our child enters school at the age of 5-6 years. Before that when he was in play school child starts counting numbers and child starts counting money. This is the age to start communication on economic subjects like how to spend money carefully/thoughtfully, what is dearer/cheaper. Whenever parents get an opportunity they can initiate dialogue with their children on these matters in a manner they can understand.
A child is bound to demand things which we know are either expensive or would not last but that does not mean he should get it whenever he demands.You should be always conscious about your financial condition. Even though you are financially sound, try to delay or differ to fulfill your child’s demand. Slowly the child will stop demanding.
Today we come across DINK (Double Income No Kids)or DISK (Double Income Single Kid) couples. Parents feel guilty of not being with their kids. To compensate, kids are bribed with expensive toys like videogames, DS etc. Dear parents, have you ever thought if this is right or wrong? Under these circumstances when your kids grow into teenagers and fall prey to bad habits from the company he kept who is to be blamed – you the parents or your kids. It needs serious retrospection.
If you are conscious & careful about above discussed issues while raising your kids, then it is very easy to make them economically literate. It is inevitable for parents to go out to meet their ends. It is not important how much time you give to your kids but it should be quality time. When you visit a toy shop with your kids it is not necessary that you buy expensive toys which you cannot afford. Kids are happy with even cheaper toys. On the contrary I have come across many such cheap toy selling shops which are helping kids to enhance emotional, intelligent quotient, improve rational/emotional/analytical/logical abilities. As they grow they learn to know cheap and expensive toys.It also helps to change their psyche to save and buy. We can motivate them to accumulate all their cash gifts to buy that.
As your children grows, they can manage their pocket money well. Instead of spending full pocket money, they should save some portion of it and grow by investing. This will inculcate habit of saving. I know my neighbour’s son who is studying in 2ndyear of pharmacy keeps aside his expenses in the beginning of the month so as to use it for Fun activities expected in late month. If such activities fail to take place, he puts that amount into his bank account. After accumulating considerable amount in bank account he transfers it to bank fixed deposits. On the contrary, if parent willingly keep on topping up children’s pocketmoney as and when required, we are not educating them to control their expenses but encouraging them to spend more and more without any limit. One step further, parents should give one diary to their kids to maintain their daily expenses. They should sit at the end of the month to review expenses, to categorise money wasters and must- have expenses. This habit will take your kids a long way when they stand on their own feet.
Many Banks encourage Parents to open accounts in their child’s name. You should make your children and other parents aware of this. If Parents can succeed in convincing their kids to avoid spendthriftness and even with some expense control or cost cutting, life can be enjoyed and as feared above your children will never go astray. I know many youths today, under the influence of western culture, question the usefulness of saving by compromising on fun loving. They realise the importance of saving when they lose their jobs or suffer medically and then are not able to fund their day to day expenses.
Finally,we all should keep in mind that we may not be expert but at least we can begin somewhere and make our kids knowledgeable in both Financial Profit & Loss(P&L) account as well as Love P& L. It is very important to have warmth of kiths & kins, well wishers, friends in today’s hectic life.
Please do not wait to imbibe these economic and financial literacy lessons on your kids till they are grown up. Start in their childhood. It is your duty to help and guide your kid to make him aware of these habits or facts.
When you are doing Financial Planning of your family, it will facilitate to invest for achieving your life goals if all your family members too cooperate with you in maintaining financial discipline.