Posted by Allison on 1 April 2009, 16:28
I can remember being at school years ago and never having any kind of knowledge about personal finance, currency and what earning money really meant until I left school and had to figure it out for myself. I didn't even know about income tax! I can remember feeling mortified that someone was going to take 20% (or whatever it was at the time) out of my pay packet every month. My employer ended up explaining to me that I would have a personal allowance to earn before tax was taken off, but it was still a shock to the system.
There is no doubt that if currency, finance and personal money issues were talked about more in schools, there would probably be a lot less debt in society. And since it is all part of understanding how the world around us works, why shouldn't we all be teaching our kids everything there is to know about money?
It is heartening to learn though that 74% of parents are apparently talking to their kids about cash and what it means to have it - and not have it, according to one survey.
But the Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg) is helping to support the whopping 93% of people (teachers and parents alike) who want this type of education brought into all schools. You can find out more about this organisation and what they do by going to http://www.pfeg.org/our_work_with_schools/.
So what can you do personally if you have a child and you want to tell them about money and what it means?
Well it does of course depend on the age of the child, but the sooner you start to teach them what money is, what it does and what it is worth to them, the better the results are likely to be.
Young children can start to get to grips with the fact that things need to be paid for with money that is earned at quite an early age. As they get older you can start to introduce more information about how things work. For example they will know that you go out to work to earn money, but they may not realise how many bills have to be paid in order to keep the lifestyle they have.
It's not a question of frightening them or telling them more than they can handle at any stage, it's simply a question of teaching them bits and pieces as and when they can handle it. And only you will know what your children can and should know at any one stage.
There is no doubt that in the future we can look forward to having more education on this subject in UK schools though. Perhaps having an understanding of other world currencies is a little further off, but even a basic knowledge would provide far more than they know at the moment.
The value of money is something that we all learn about all through our lives. Money can mean different things to different people, but while it can make our lives more comfortable it can also create no end of problems. Learning how to manage it at an early age will stand every child in good stead for the future.