Make every cent count: How to teach your children about money – Irish Examiner

Make every cent count: How to teach your children about money – Irish Examiner

If you want to impact your children’s future financial well-being, start teaching them early about money.

A Money Advice Service study in Britain conducted by Cambridge University found adult money habits can be set by the age of seven years (

Start children young if you want them to be money-savvy, agrees Ann-Marie Gaynor aka Irish Budgeting Mammy. “Teach them the basics from when they’re quite small. From when they’re about three show them what money means. Show them the notes and coins — ‘this is €1, this is €2’. Get them to count. Play shop with them — give them physical money.”

And set a good example. “If they see you using money, counting it out, getting change back, they’ll get a grasp of how money is spent, better than if you’re continuously tapping your card,” says Gaynor, who advises parents to explain how money comes ends up in a bank machine.

“Explain that you go to work, you get paid, your employer puts that money in the bank for you and this is what you get from the bank machine. If there’s no money in the bank, there’s no money in the machine.”

Deputy director of communications at the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), Muriel Dolan says children need to be taught the value of money if they’re to develop positive financial habits. “Children receive money from an early age — for birthdays, as pocket money. Even adults don’t place the same value on gifted money as we do on earned money. A simple way to teach children the value of money is by having them earn their ‘pocket’ money by doing age-appropriate chores.”

This, she says, allows children to form a link between working and income.

Ann-Marie Gaynor of Irish Budgeting Mammy

Transparent savings

Gaynor urges teaching them to save from an early age — but keep it visual. “Use a clear jar. We all give them piggy banks but they can’t see the money rising. With a clear jar, they can. You can also use post-office stamp cards,” says the mum-of-four, who found these worked great for her 11-year-old daughter, Robin.

“It used to be that even when she was saving, she’d be dipping into what she’d saved to go to the pound shop. I got her to buy savings stamps in the post-office. She buys one for €1 and sticks it in a card and when she has 20, it’s full. Now she counts how many she has saved and goes around the house looking for change to buy her stamp, usually one a week.”

Dolan points to CCPC research among adults, which found that financial well-being is improved through two key behaviours: ‘active saving’ and ‘not borrowing for daily expenses’.

“The bank, credit union, post office — all offer junior savings accounts. A trip to put money into their account can be a very exciting event for a child and positively reinforces …….


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