It doesn’t grow on trees

Tips from parents and professionals on how to teach children the value of money

By Chandrea Serebro

“We live in a society which demands instant gratification. Money is not always tangible and felt in our palms; rather it is dispersed for purchases through the push of a button. The social media weapons of marketing make us believe that we want everything we see and we want it now. Our children are millennials – they are techno savvy and grasp information much quicker than any previous generation. Despite what our children can learn on the internet, as parents it is our responsibility to teach by example concepts that cannot be mimicked by technology. If we start teaching our children financial skills, no matter how basic, at a very young age, these values will become inculcated into their psyche. Without giving our children the fundamental tools to manage their money, we are doing them a huge disservice. It is of paramount importance that we do not give into their every whim. Give children the opportunity to work and earn money, as this will gradually increase their financial independence. Teach them to be responsible and to believe that they have the power within themselves to achieve financial success.”

Laureen Shalpid, Fun Finance 4 Kids

“Each of our kids, aged 7, 11, and 14, is given different goals for the month, including maintaining their marks on tests and their share of the duties around the house. They get an amount of money to begin with, relevant to their age, which they will only receive at the end of the month. But, at the end of the month, there are clearly stipulated deductions if they don’t reach their targets – for their tests, or if they didn’t fulfil their chores properly each day, etc. At the end of the month, we go through what they could have had and why they were short. But, there is also bonus money, which turned out to be a great way of reintroducing something that had fallen by the way side, or for introducing a new task around the house. This reward also encourages them to help spontaneously. We employ this system to help them realise deeper goals as well – going to shul, listening to the Torah reading, etc. By doing this, they don’t only learn the value of money, but that they have to work for things, and that things don’t come for free. Importantly, one of the paramount reasons for deductions is talking about the money or boasting about their earnings, or nagging for points or to allay a deduction, and this is all penalised to ensure the smooth running of the system. After using this system for a month, we managed to overcome much of the things we were battling with. Of course, every month is a new battle, but it is a great incentive.”

Jason and Lindy Kornblum

“Set a monetary value for extra chores, like washing the car or walking the dogs. For older children who have jobs like baby sitting and tutoring, open a bank account for them. Let them keep half their money to enjoy, and deposit the other half. Then get them to set a goal for what they want to use the money for – and hopefully watch it happen.”‬‬‬

Adrienne Bogatie, Kashering your Life

“Pocket money. This teaches them how to budget and save. Sit with them and work out exactly what they have to use it for, and help them work it in their budget.”

Leanne Sassen

“I keep a record of what is due to my children every week. They could then use it at any time on something useful. This teaches them the concept of saving for what you want and also not to waste it‬‬‬.”

Caron Meyerowitz‬‬

“When our kids reach their 10 stars on their star chart for doing whatever it is the star chart is for, we take them to the toy shop and give them a monetary value that they can spend. They have more fun finding the stuff under R200 than the actual toy sometimes, teaching them that toys have a monetary value and so does their earnings. So, they do their chores or good deeds for a star, not money, but the end result is a capped amount of Rands. We also give pocket money and show them the value of saving their weekly R5 so it accumulates, and the more patient they are, the bigger amount they have at the end of the month and then they can choose to save it or spend it.”

Shelley Meskin

“It is useful to research a list of chores that are appropriate for each age group. We believe it is important that kids do chores because it gives them skills and shows them that they are part of a bigger family unit and can take some responsibility. We give out ‘bobbles’ and each bobble has a value. Each chore has a ‘bobble value’ such as washing one sink of dishes = 2 bobbles, etc. They choose their own chores from a list (usually on weekends), unless we need specific help with something. When they need money, they count their bobbles and cash them in.”

Larry and Eve Marks

“Teach them to give. Show them how valuable money is; how it can make such a meaningful impact on the life of someone in need.”‬

Rabbi Ari Shishler

“Even if you can afford to buy everything they want, kids need to learn the value of time and effort. Make them work in the school holidays to save up. When they see how many hours it takes to attain an item, they can ask themselves, ‘Was it worth my time for the physical object?’ Offer to help them invest in something and explain to them the idea that if they sacrifice instant gratification now, then that money can buy something so much better in the future. Kids shouldn’t be sheltered from the realities of life either. Encourage them to volunteer with underprivileged support organisations and see first-hand what other people experience so they can appreciate what they have.‬‬‬‬‬


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