A few years back, I attended a family function where all the kids received monetary gifts. In a blink, I noticed some kids giving theirs to their parents while some pocketed it. Smiles!

By the following day, some of the other kids who picked theirs had used all their money to buy biscuits, sweets and drinks from the corner store down the street. But something caught my attention. I saw a parent who introduced the concept of a piggy bank (a small wooden container for saving money) to her children from a very early age and as a result, whenever they receive monetary gifts, they always insist deposit them in the piggy bank.

Not once do I recall some children asking me to give them money to buy sweets or biscuits. On the flip side, I find that a lot of kids do the exact opposite. They spend at a go as being given. Without advice, these kids may grow up with a habit of spending all they have and not knowing how to save or invest.

At the intersection between saving and spending, we are faced with a question. At what age should parents start teaching their children about money and related issues such as financial planning, financial intelligence, financial independence and financial freedom?

I feel it is never too early to start teaching children about money and the act of saving more and spending less. Once kids can talk, it is important to start introducing the concept of money, the value of money, how to manage money, how to make money as well as the importance of investing money.

Unfortunately, many of us were not taught by our parents and today we find ourselves in financially destructive circumstances such as debt excess.

Furthermore, financial intelligence is not taught in schools neither is it learned on the street. The Bible says “train a child in the way he/she should go and he would not depart from it.’ If we start teaching our kids from a very early age, it would become a lifestyle and they would grow up to be successful in handling money.

How do we teach our kids?
There is a lot of help available to us as parents of this present generation. The internet provides access to unlimited resources and information regarding financial intelligence. Parents must-read books and speak to financial experts in the field such as financial coaches.

As part of family time, parents should also encourage their children to play games that teach financial intelligence such as monopoly. There are also movies on financial intelligence and financial intelligence clubs.

Some of the areas parents should focus on include:

1.   The theory and value of money
2.   The significance of budgeting and how to budget
3.   How to save
4.   How to set financial goals
5.   How to earn and make money
6.   How to utilize money
7.   The importance of giving and not expecting to receive.
8.   The importance of investing.

The importance of teaching children about money from a very early age cannot be overemphasized especially in this era of financial loans, credit overload and social/peer pressure. We must teach our kids about money, just as it is important to teach them about integrity, ethics and how to read and write.

Adeyinka Meduoye

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