When you’re young, it’s really difficult to apply any perspective to life. After all, isn’t it true that all children think of anyone who’s their parents’ age or older as ‘really, really old’?
So as far as a six-year-old is concerned, for example, such concerns as saving for a pension or a deposit for a house, putting away money in a savings plan, building up a cash reserve for when they leave home to go to university, or having health insurance – or any other kind of insurance for that matter – are concepts which are hard to grasp as Professor Stephen Hawking’s maths theories.
On which note, if your child shows early promise as a brilliant mathematician, doctor, scientist or even writer, then they’re going to need support through many years of study before their knowledge is likely to start paying its own way.
Having said that, it doesn’t matter whether your child is brilliant at maths, or enjoys English or any other academic subject, then maximizing the potential of that aptitude will cost an arm and a leg.
So if your child enjoys learning, and looks as though they are going to want to carry on studying to degree level or beyond, it’s a good idea to make sure they know that, before they start earning the rewards of persisting with their studies, there will be a substantial financial outlay.
And the best way to get children into this habit is to start small. Being open and honest with them about money is a sure way to make them realise that few things in life are free, so to get what they really want, they have to save up.
Teaching children how much basic items cost isn’t only a way into getting them acquainted with the realities of life, it’s also a way by which they can learn that living beyond their means isn’t a good thing, and that, eventually, everyone has to pay for things they find ‘boring’ but are essentials to ensure a comfortable and healthy life.
Not only that, but learning about prices is sure to help them with their maths – a core part of their life skills which might well ignite interest in a subject which can repay them handsomely in the future – again, see Stephen Hawking as a shining example.
Making children realise that they can’t have everything they want ‘now’ is central to them learning the merits of saving. As children, we all had a piggy bank into which we deposited our loose coins. This tells children that saving for something they particularly want, or an occasion when they might want more money to spend as they wish – a family holiday for example – is a good habit to get into.
There’s a big ‘but’ attached to this, however, and that’s that parents must lead by example. By showing that it’s impossible to have everything you want now, you’ll start your children along a road which will make them more realistic and responsible about their approach to money – and in years to come, they’re sure to appreciate you for it.