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Piggy Bank Tales: how to teach your kids about money

As the aptly coined Generation X, Generation Rent, Millennial’s…we are a far cry from our Baby Boomer parents when it comes to money.

Unlike them we didn’t have the privilege of buying our home for 10p when we were 20 (sense the sarcasm), we’ve been brought up in a credit card culture (who gives an 18 year old moving to London for the first time ever a £3k credit limit and a £2,000 overdraft I ask you?) and we’ve experienced the worst financial crash in history.

Fast forward a few years and I think we’re all starting to feel the benefits of the economic upturn and even though a crazy percentage of us had to revert back mum and dad’s to save for our own home, we’re STILL paying off that student loan and house prices…it’s getting easier but we’re not through it yet. When it comes to money, the majority of us have had a rough ride and well, I know like you, for my children’s generation (whom Forbes are now calling Post-Millennial’s (how inventive!)) we want things to be different.

One man leading the charge is financial guru turned children’s author, Robert Gardiner. He’s a whizz at teaching even the teeniest of pre-teens how to turn their acorns into trees…confused? I’ll let the expert explain.

“I haven’t told you the best part,” said Grandpa, “when you save your acorns, they don’t just sit there and wait for you. They grow into trees, and the trees give you more and more acorns.”

The book which is aimed at five-year-old’s plus, is accredited by the FairLife Foundation for responsible financial education and is backed by Robert’s RedStart financial education charity which teaches young people to budget, save, invest, and give back.

Not only that, but this beautifully illustrated book has handy notes for parents and teachers on how to encourage children to save and to help their community.


But before you get your hands on the ‘Save Your Acorns’ book here’s a few tips to get started.

Six Ways to Teach Your Children About Money

  1. Do what I do: Children learn pretty much everything from us and money is no different. Set a good example and be that role model who always has a few pounds in their pocket (and a contactless card when required), doesn’t use a shopping centre as their main leisure activity and rewards them with things other than money and expensive goods.
  2. Mind your language: Using phrases like ‘I can’t afford it’ when they are begging for a new game/toy tells your little one that you’re not in control of your money. Teach them to use their allowance or gifted money and save for the item instead.
  3. Three Jar method: Saving for spending on these items should work alongside long-term saving and donating to charity. Three simple jars for your child to distribute their allowance or money they’ve got for doing chores, teaches them that it’s OK to spend money if you are giving back to others and saving as well.
  4. Meet your match: A great way to further encourage saving is to match fund your child’s efforts. ‘If you save £30, I will match it to buy that game you’d wanted to get’. It’s a way to tell them that you support them, but that they must contribute in order to succeed.
  5. Let them make mistakes: They’ve bought a new toy on impulse but now they don’t like it and they want to swap. Is that Ok? You’re out of your 30 days. Humph. Trust me, the next time they will really think hard before they spend.
  6. Talk the talk: No matter what your methods, starting as early as they can count and being open and informative to teach your children how to earn money, spend money, invest money, give money and save money is an ongoing lesson they’ll reap the benefits of for years to come.

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