I was talking with my little nephew today and a topic about money came up as I noticed on one of his gaming system there are these questionnaires it asks you and one of it was “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He happened to select the phrase that says “I want to be rich.” That got me to mention about how you have to learn to manage money as well such as saving it. A well, protecting yourself from people who just want to take it from you.
He mentioned he does save as he saved enough money to buy a gaming console last year. I then decided to show him my old banking passbook when I opened my own bank account when I was teenager. I initially started with a little over $500. As I went to school and worked at McDonalds I continued to save. As we flipped through the passbook he was seeing how my savings kept getting larger by the thousands and most noticeably how much free interest money I was getting from the banks. Example, in the beginning it was only 19 cents and you clearly saw it grow to like $10. Keep in mind this was all while in high school still.
After all this, I asked him a simple question in terms of what he learned about money and his answer was that he should really think about how he spends it. It’s really that simple to educate kids in financial literacy huh? While still using the passbook I used it for an example as well on how I have lost the most money in my life. His immediate reaction while looking at the passport number was how my funds were going down in a very concerned way. I then began to tell him the story on how I continued to loan my best friend at the time thousands of dollars.
It was cute too where as I was telling the story he would say things like “No uncle, he’ s lying” in regards to the things the person told me to convince me to lend him money. Basically, I was hoping to teach him that saving money involves more than just finding good deals in life for example and he immediately responds by saying he would never do things like loan people money if someone asked him for money like that.
Here was the surprising part for me. I then gave him a make-believe scenario where he was a billionaire and he had a friend of over 20 years who one day told him he needed $1000 as his mother was very sick in the hospital. Without this money she could pass away. So I asked him, doesn’t that sound like the right thing to do for a friend who he has known for so long along with a mother that desperately needs money to save her life? I stressed the point too how he is a billionaire where $1000 wouldn’t be much.
His immediate response without hesitation was “I would ask him to let me visit his sick mother at the hospital and give the money there.” Wow, was I impressed. This is like a child in grade 3 as well. It just showed me how easy it is to teach kids financial management and money skills at a young age as long as we are willing to take the time to educate them about it. People often say money and finance issues are not something kids should learn. But to me, the sooner the child is capable of being aware on how money is simply an aspect of our lives that we need to be responsible in managing the better. If anything, it would make them less likely to nag the parents to buy expensive and unnecessary things since they will have more appreciation for it.