What kids know about money
Last week I participated in a series of presentations to kids in our region for Global Money Week – an initiative to foster financial education in our children to better their futures & break the taboo around talking about money.
While the actual presentation was less than a stellar success (please don’t remind me!) the outcome I was actually really pleased with. From a group of 9-12 year old children most of them understood saving, most of them understood the need for saving and most of them had at least one saving goal. Many of the kids planned to save everything they earn – which is admirable innocence and I love it, but equally many of them had thought about saving 1/3rd to half of the money they have, and they knew they could have bank accounts & money boxes – or put their money in a safe! Clever kids!
We discussed wants and needs and I’m sure they all understood that chocolate is a want – while doing chores is a need.
So it seems the financial messages are getting through to our kids and I know I meet plenty of young people who are focused and saving and buying property in their early 20’s to set them selves up well.
However life gets in the way at times and I also meet lovely people who are watching credit card or personal loan balances grow each year and unable to get on top of them. The cold hard reality of this is you’re probably spending more than you earn if your debts are growing each year.
At times this happens because of a temporary change in our circumstances – like maternity leave or illness, particularly unexpected - and while this is not ideal its something we can address when things reverse.
But if this continues you can find yourself in a situation where the interest itself will feel crippling – let alone actually moving forward in the debt.
There are only two ways you can improve this situation, increase your income or cut your expenses. I know this is easier said than done. Before the situation gets out of control take a hard look at your budget and talk to someone who can help you look at your options. It’s amazing what you can do for a short period of time that might help you make a long term gain.