How to talk to kids about: Money
Prepare your child for the big bad world of savings and investments
If only schools spent time talking to kids about money — how to make it, save it, invest it — rather than, say… trigonometry. I can’t remember the last time I spoke about my old friends, Sine, Cosine and Tangent, yet paying rent, making investments and cooking are genuine survival skills that could have prepared me for the nightmares of adult life.
Despite having adopted interactive learning techniques and constantly updating their curriculum, even today, schools across the country seem to miss out on talking to kids about money. When you finally recognise its importance, you’re either too scared to dive head-first into a pool of financial jargon or don’t know where to start. Binoli Dodhiwala, a single mother and co-founder and CEO of The Money Managers, gives us a masterclass on talking to kids about money.
Let your kids take charge of their own finances
Talking to kids about money is important, but actually letting them handle their own finances is what helps them fully understand how everything works. Open a bank account for your child that she or he can operate. “Often when you give your child pocket money, they don’t want to let go of it. But when they go and deposit it themselves and see the bank statement, they automatically feel a sense of ownership and responsibility towards their finances,” says Dodhiwala. In 2014, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) permitted banks to offer savings accounts to minors above the age of 10. ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, Union Bank, and Kotak Mahindra Bank are some banks that let kids operate their own savings accounts.
Weave information into everyday activities
Instead of sitting your children down and bombarding them with jargon that sounds like gibberish to them, weave it into everyday activities. Rewarding them with a small sum of money is a good strategy to employ. Dodhiwala breaks the process down by giving us an example – “If your child aced a test or finished their homework, give her Rs 20, but tell them if they take it after a week then the amount would increase to Rs 30. And then let them make the decision.” What this activity does is simplify investing for them, and allows them to take financial decisions for themselves.
Talking to kids about money doesn’t have to be boring
Make the learning process interactive. Give them tasks that allow them to understand financial processes without being intimidated. “An interactive activity that I often use to teach children about finances is gardening. Ask them to sow a seed and water it regularly. Eventually this seed will grow into a plant and bear flowers or fruits. The next step is to draw parallels between the growing of the plant, and saving and investing. Tell them the seed is what they first put in the bank. Watering it regularly is nothing more than adding to your money pool bit by bit. And what you ultimately get is more than what you started with,” explains Dodhiwala.
Make screen time productive
Youtube is a great tool to help your kids learn about managing money. Especially now, when mobile phones seem like extensions of their arm. Dodhiwala recommends One Idiot on Youtube – a collaboration between director Amole Gupte and IDFC Bank. “It is a very light watch and great for both, kids and adults,” says Dodhiwala.