How can my child learn financial literacy? (Series of Posts)
Posted by: | on July 19, 2012
This entry will be one of those entries that will be updated as Special Education Philippines learn more about the topic of how can our children learn financial literacy. Hence I will be placing resources of where the information is obtained to serve as reference.
The first question Special Education Philippines wants to explore is how does a child learn financial literacy? Is it genetic? Is it acquired knowledge? Is it true that if your parents are poor you are doomed to be poor as well? Well to answer it simply if its genetic then this blog will not bother to make this post but based from the books I’ve read and my own research in connection to my thesis – education plays a big role on how children learn about money.
T. Harv Eker said in his book the “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” – Every child is taught how to think about and act in relation to money… These teachings become your conditioning which becomes automatic responses that run you for the rest of your life.
How do I teach my child financial literacy?
Eker describes three ways how our mind is conditioned to learn things including money:
1. Verbal programming – what you heard
2. Modelling – what you saw or witnessed
3. Specific incidents – what you experienced
These three things when put together make up what we know about money. As parents or guardians of our children we should realize that every time we tell our child that “we don’t have money so we can’t afford to buy your toy” we are teaching our child scarcity. We can argue about the limitations of this general statement that’s why I hope that you consider the bigger picture before attacking the concept. Instead of drilling to your child that you cannot afford his or her toy why not consider making it a learning experience. Ask your child how he or she can afford to buy the toy? What can you and your child do to help him or her save the money to afford the toy he wants to buy? This money question can teach him valuable insights about money and it builds character too.
What we don’t say to our child is as potent as what we say. Let’s take the example above. You tell your child you cannot afford to buy his or her toy but he or she sees you impulse buying. What message does your action say about handling money? You tell your child to prioritize but when it comes to your own desires you cannot control yourself. Not only are you giving mixed messages but you might be unconsciously teaching money practices that can be detrimental to his money habits when he grows up.
Experience is the best teacher and in this situation it is one of the best cliches applicable. You tell your child to save but does he have an opportunity to save. Does he have a piggy bank? Does he handle money? How much experience are you giving your child to learn money? If the answer to these basic questions is “no” then you’re not giving your child the experience he actually needs to learn money. It’s the same thing with learning how to bike. You can read an entire book about riding a bicycle and maybe by the end of the book you and your child can even name all the parts and mechanisms in a bicycle but all the knowledge in this world about bicycles is futile if you haven’t actually ridden a bicycle. Same thing with money. If your child does not even own a wallet, how do you expect him to learn how to keep money or even know how to arrange it.
Financial Literacy is best learned when the child is still young according to experts. It establishes a good foundation for the child to learn a stable money blueprint. But what if the parent or the guardian of the child is not capable of teaching financial literacy, does this mean the child’s financial literacy is doomed? Of course not.
Can we expect the school to teach it to our children? Not really.
It’s never too late to learn financial literacy. Maybe you can even take this opportunity to learn financial literacy with your child together.
What do you think about this post? Would you like to learn more about how a child learns financial literacy?