In a June 2008 article, financial columnist Gordon Powers wrote, “Too many people don't really understand how to manage money, which may be why they have so little of it to work with”. In his article, he quotes Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty who said “many Canadians struggle with unmanageable debt, fail to save adequately for emergencies, college or retirement, and generally make countless other poor financial choices that eventually leave them worse off. The root cause? Financial illiteracy.”
“Our belief is that children need to be engaged at a young age in order to learn positive money values,” said Eulalie Scandiuzzi creator of Moonjar, creator of fun products focusing on financial life skills and the art of communication for independent young minds. “By the time a child reaches high-school age, their values systems have been substantially developed. When parents engage their children during their early years and discuss the concepts of saving, spending, and sharing, children grow up understanding finances and exhibiting positive behaviors with their money that will stay with them for life,” she says.
Moonjar offers these tips to parents for starting the conversation about money:
• Talk with your 4 and 5 year olds about money concepts. Most children are visual learners, so using hands-on tools like check registers and moneyboxes can better help them learn concepts such as allocating funds and what interest means.
• Set goals and prioritize. Use pictures to help them visualize their goals and then prioritize what they are saving for, what they want to spend their money on, and with whom or with what they want to share their money. Set short and long term goals then discuss where the balance should be spent and shared on an on-going basis.
• Discuss the difference between wants and needs. Working with them to set goals will help in overcoming the desire for “instant gratification”.
• But… let them make a few mistakes. Children, like adults, learn from their mistakes. From time to time, allow your child to buy that toy you know won’t be played with very long, for example. Sure, they may be disappointed in a few weeks, but many lessons can be learned from this experience. Encourage them, without guilt, to plan their future purchases, weigh the cost and the benefit of their choices and to think twice next time, even sleep on it.
• Encourage young giving and youth philanthropy. Help your children understand that they are part of a larger world community through discussions about sharing their money and/or donating time to causes of their choosing.
• Be a good role model. Make sure your children see you doing the things that you are teaching them. Let them in on your bill paying, savings and investment plans and charitable giving. Discuss your attitudes and philosophies about money and tell them your dreams for how your money can fuel your passions.
Above all, keep the conversation about money open and honest and help teach our kids valuable money lessons.
Founded in 2001, Moonjar supports youth financial literacy around the globe. Winner of the Global Learning Initiative Award and the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, Moonjar creates products that are teaching tools that help families gain financial literacy life skills.
Moonjar products include Moonjar Moneyboxes, a new take on the traditional piggy bank with individual compartments for saving, spending and sharing; Conversations To Go, 100 open-ended questions about money, travel and life -- the game that that gets everyone talking; and the story book Noom & Raj Start a Business: The ABC’s of Money..
To learn more about Moonjar, visit www.moonjar.ca