The older I get, the more concerned I become about saving for the future. It’s tough for my generation and I imagine it will be similar for Dylan and Xander when they grow up, so getting them off to a good start is very important to me. To help promote their new Under 19s Account, TSB asked me if I’d share my tips on how to teach children to be responsible with money…
My first tip is to get them started with saving before they have a say in the matter. We set up bank accounts for both boys within weeks of their births and put birthday and Christmas money in them – they get more than enough toys, so the money isn’t missed in the short term and will be much more use when they’re older.
Set a good example
Children learn from copying their parents – I’ve had my own words used against me enough times to know that – so being seen to be sensible with spending can only be a good thing. For example, I’ll often pointedly look at things I want while we’re out shopping, but mention that they’re too expensive and that I’ll have to wait until they’re reduced. Dylan has since said as much when offered a DVD, so it does work!
Establish a routine
Similarly, you can set a good example by making managing money something that children are aware of. It’s become part of our weekend routine to check our internet banking over breakfast, and the boys recognise what we’re doing. Even if they won’t grasp the finer points of it for a few years yet, it’s establishing it as a job that must be done, so I’m confident it will help in the long run.
Give them responsibility
While I have to admit that Dylan and Xander don’t get pocket money yet, it’s something that we’ll be introducing soon. They’ll get a small amount each week and it will be theirs to spend or save as they see fit on the understanding that, when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Let them make mistakes
This may sound a little irresponsible, but we all know the adage about learning from our mistakes and I think it’s best to make them early on when the stakes are much lower! Inevitably, they’ll blow it on sweets and flimsy plastic toys at first, but the penny will drop – sorry, couldn’t resist using that line – and they’ll realise that saving for bigger and better things is much more worthwhile.
Set saving goals
We’ll be encouraging Dylan and Xander to save for things and will help them by using reward charts to show how close they are to reaching their targets. The first thing I remember saving up for in this way was a Ghostbusters toy that pulled a frightened face when you squeezed its arm. I think it cost about £8, which was a lot of money to me and it took ages, but I was really proud of myself. My parents still have the toy and Xander hasn’t broken it yet – it’s proved to be a sound, long-term investment!
Disclosure: this post was produced in collaboration with TSB.