As I was brainstorming ideas for my next article in The Manila Times, a lightbulb moment struck me: why not delve into the exciting world of teaching kids about financial literacy?
And guess what? Now is the perfect time, with most kids enjoying a well-deserved break from school.
Let me share how we started teaching our eldest daughter, Macey, about money.
We introduced her to the concept of saving when she was just 2 years old, using a cute little piggy bank. As she got older, we gradually introduced her to the world of savings and investments.
Believe it or not, on her third birthday, we took her to the COL Financial office at the Philippines Stock Exchange Tower in Ortigas to open her very own stock market account. It was a memorable and exciting experience, even though she doesn’t remember it clearly. Luckily, we captured everything on video and she loves watching it on YouTube!
I’m thrilled that I started teaching my daughter about money at a young age. Whether we’re at the grocery store or considering a purchase, she now carefully considers whether it’s a need or a want.
And if she wants something, she takes it upon herself to save up or find a way to earn the money instead of asking us for it. She even prefers to buy things herself, turning down our offers to buy them for her.
Her latest purchase was a small organizer for her art supplies from Shopee, which she asked me to buy during the 7.7 sale because she knew she could save money. She eagerly awaited its delivery all week, and it finally arrived today.
She was overjoyed to make her first ever Cash on Delivery purchase through Shopee and insisted on paying with coins, a total of Php 183! Even though I offered to use bills, she was determined to use her hard-earned coins. She sold bookmarks to us, our relatives, and even her classmates to save up for this moment.
Although we may not be perfect when it comes to managing our money, I believe that teaching our kids these valuable money lessons will set them up for a financially successful future.
Now, let me share some tips on how we can teach our children about financial literacy during school breaks and even in our day-to-day lives.
Discussing Finance with the Young Ones
In the heart of every Filipino parent and educator is the desire to equip our children with skills that will serve them for life. As most schools are on their break, now is the perfect time to introduce a topic that is often overlooked but of undeniable importance – financial literacy.
In a country where the ‘Bahala Na’ (come what may) mentality is prevalent, teaching our young ones about money management can be a game-changer. It’s not just about counting coins and bills or knowing how much a kilo of rice costs at the local palengke (wet market). It’s about fostering a mindset of financial responsibility and independence that they can carry into adulthood.
Imagine if our children could understand the value of saving their aginaldo (Christmas cash gifts) instead of spending it all on toys and treats, or if they could grasp the concept of investment by starting their little sari-sari store. What if they could learn the basics of budgeting by managing their daily baon (school allowance?) These are not far-fetched scenarios. They are real-life applications of financial lessons that we can incorporate into their day-to-day activities.
Financial education does not have to be dull or intimidating. In fact, it can be as engaging and enjoyable as any game we teach our children. It’s about making wise decisions, planning ahead, and understanding that every peso counts – lessons that are as valuable in life as they are in money matters.
So let’s seize this school break as an opportunity to start these vital conversations about money.
The seeds we plant today in our children’s minds can grow into habits that will secure their financial future, enabling them to navigate the economic seas of life with confidence and competence.
After all, our greatest investment lies in the education of our youth. And there’s no better time to start than now.
Taking the first step in teaching children about money can be daunting. But remember, you don’t have to be a finance guru to impart valuable lessons.
Here are some practical ways to introduce financial literacy to your children in a fun and engaging manner.
1. Start with Savings
The simplest way to start is by teaching them the importance of saving. Give them a piggy bank or an alkansya, a traditional Filipino bamboo coin bank. Encourage them to save a portion of their allowance or ‘baon.’ You’ll be surprised at how excited they will be to hear the clink of coins as their savings grow!
2. Make Budgeting a Game
Turn budgeting into a game where they can actively participate. If you’re planning a family outing, let them be part of the budget planning. This will not only make them feel involved, but it will also teach them how to allocate resources wisely.
3. Introduce the Concept of Earning
Use simple tasks around the house to teach them that money is earned, not just given. Assign chores and give them small amounts as ‘payment.’ This will instill in them the value of hard work.
4. Discuss Wants vs. Needs
Use real-life situations to explain the difference between wants and needs. This can be as simple as choosing between buying a toy or a school supply. It’s a practical way to teach them about prioritizing needs over wants.
5. Teach Them About Giving
Filipinos are known for our ‘Bayanihan’ spirit. Encourage this trait by teaching children to set aside a portion of their money for charity. This will help them understand that money can also be used to help others and not just for personal gain.
Incorporating these lessons into your child’s daily routine can make financial literacy less intimidating and more relatable. Remember, it’s not about the amount saved or earned, but the values learned along the way.
As parents and educators, our goal is to raise financially aware and responsible individuals who will one day contribute positively to our economy.
So, let’s roll up our sleeves and make this school break count. After all, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. And the seeds of financial wisdom we sow today will bear the fruitful harvest of a financially secure future for our children.