I always encourage parents to start talking to their children about money from a young age. That way the good habits required to manage and grow money can be formed over time. These conversations tend to focus more on spending and saving, but there is a third “jar” in the mix that is often overlooked – “giving”.
I’m really passionate about children having the opportunity to understand and learn about the battles that other people face in life. It’s important for their personal development as well as benefiting those in need. If children are not exposed to people outside their own realm – family, school, community – they don’t always understand how challenging life can be due to financial, medical and other reasons. Learning to appreciate what you have and finding ways to help others who are less fortunate should be a part of growing up, but often we get busy dealing with our own day-to-day and it falls by the wayside.
Scientists have said that people who give to others are happier, healthier, more grateful and have better social connections. So why wouldn’t we place more focus on ensuring children give more frequently? When you think about it, it’s odd that the “giving” component of financial education takes a back seat given there really is no downside!
There are many ways to start, including simple conversations about communities that are different to yours or people who are unable to live the way you do due to illness or disability.
Young children might choose a charity that supports someone in their life such as a grandparent with cancer or dementia. They could donate a portion of their pocket money or take part in an event that raises money for the cause. Teenagers and young adults can do the same but might also be in a position to volunteer their time – our scarcest resource and something that charities often need just as much as money.
There’s always opportunities to “do more” for others and the benefits of this type of financial education are so rewarding for all involved.
I’d love to hear your experiences in this area. It would be nice to hear some inspirational and enlightening stories amongst the grim news from around the world!