kids

'The 4 realistic rules I'm teaching my kids about money.'

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Thanks to our brand partner, Revolut

We've not been handling much cash in 2020, have we? At the supermarket, my kids simply watch me tap my phone and go, and it got me thinking about what this has taught them about the value of money.

After considering what we already do as a family and talking to a financial expert, I believe that these four realistic ‘rules’ are a great start for teaching my two boys about saving and spending in today’s cashless world.

1. Talk about money and where it comes from.

My kids are a lot smarter than I give them credit for, so discussing any questions they might have about money is a good place to start.

Firstly, they know that mum and dad have to work in order to earn money to buy all the things; and secondly, that the ATM does not just spit out free money – that’s our hard-earned dollars!

While almost four-year-old Leo is only just learning the basics, my eldest son Toby has always loved numbers. I remember taking him to the bank when he was five or six to tip our spare change into the sorting machine. He was fascinated when the machine quickly counted it all and spat out a receipt showing we’d saved hundreds of dollars. 

More recently, we changed our bank accounts and began following the advice of best-selling author Scott Pape, The Barefoot Investor, when it came to our finances.

We set up a few of Scott’s suggestions for Toby such as the three-jar system of ‘splurge’, ‘save’ and ‘give’ to distribute his weekly pocket money into. Toby was so interested that he even dressed as Scott for this year’s Book Week parade!

2. Use their language - go digital.

Screen time is an ongoing issue in our household, but I have to be realistic that if I use my device for everything, my kids will want do the same.

While Scott’s jars of cash were a great way to start the conversation with Toby about saving, the practical aspects eventually crept in: we never seemed to have any actual cash to give him and so he lost interest.

What has made our lives easier and also more engaging for Toby is taking the chores and saving elements online with the Revolut Junior App and prepaid card.

After initially setting up an account for myself, I opened and then linked Toby’s Revolut Junior account to mine in less than five minutes before installing the app on a device for him.

In order to earn his money from the ‘bank of mum and dad’, I have set up four daily chores for him including feeding our cat and tidying his bedroom. When he checks them off as complete on his iPad, I receive a notification to pay up. I transfer the money with one quick tap and it’s in his account - he loves see the balance go up instantly!

A look inside some of the features in the Revolut Junior app. Image: Supplied.

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Matt Baxby, the CEO of Revolut Australia, is particularly proud of the Revolut Junior app, which as a dad of four kids, makes sense.

“I think this is a great example of tech doing something good – we are able to engage our kids on the subject of money and savings in a way they understand and are interested in,” Matt says.

“My four kids all use the app and linked card quite differently too. My eldest daughter is really into vinyl and she is saving for a record player. One of my 10-year-old twins is saving for a new scooter. What I like about the Revolut Junior app in particular is that it’s really easy for us parents to manage their accounts, set limits and boundaries but also allow them some freedom to make decisions about what they spend their money on.

It's not endless freedom, thank goodness. A lot of us worry about kids spending too much on things like online games, which is why Revolut Junior has auto-blocks on age-restricted merchants and other safety features to give parents peace of mind. I can also choose to turn his card on and off at ATMs (should he ever need cash).

3. Say ‘no’ to buying meaningless stuff.

I know from experience that it can be tempting to buy the kids a little treat when you want to keep them happy while shopping. I often end up shelling out for banana bread and milkshakes if I want to enjoy a weekend coffee with Toby and Leo, which is fair enough in my book.

Less enjoyable and more problematic is on the trips to the supermarket, Bunnings or Kmart where you get the whining about wanting some plastic nonsense they will ‘love’ for three minutes before leaving in the backseat of the car.

I know this because I have succumbed to the demands once or twice and it is never worth it. It teaches them nothing about the value of money or delayed gratification and just means they’ll whine even harder about wanting more ‘stuff’ next time you have to do the chores.

These days I quite like the power I feel when I say ‘no’ (there’s not much power left in my life so I’ll take it where I can) and I will soften the blow by putting a packet of biscuits or some butter popcorn in the trolley that we can all share later.

4. Let them earn, then learn about budgeting.

Like us adults, kids need goals in order to understand the value and importance of budgeting.

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Think about a big-ticket item your child would really like - a new laptop for school or a skateboard - and set that as their savings goal. Toby is saving for an electric guitar and as it is really expensive, we have offered to meet him halfway, just in time for Christmas.

When Toby gets his allowance after the chores are complete, he knows that if he spends the lot on lollies after school, there won’t be any left to go into his electric guitar fund.

Want an electric guitar? I'll meet you halfway, mate. Image: Supplied.

The great thing about him using the Revolut Junior app is that he can watch his balance go up or down in real time.

Every time he uses his card to spend his cash on something frivolous – his electric guitar fund shrinks on screen.

Matt Baxby says that this ownership around budgeting works for his kids too.

"If I give my kids some money from my pocket that they take to spend on a Slurpee at the servo, it is quite different to if money for that Slurpee has to come out of their own accounts," he shares. "They have to manage their money if they want to buy their longed-for scooter or record player and they know that it is not an infinite resource.

"It’s all about empowering our kids to make independent financial decisions while still being able to set boundaries and see what they’re spending their money on."

What are your 'money rules' you teach your kids? Tell us below.

To find out more about Revolut and setting up a Junior Account for your kids, visit Revolut's website.


Revolut
This article was created in partnership with Revolut, the Super App designed to help you manage your money. As an innovative, new financial platform, Revolut gives people the power to spend, invest and transfer money without the sky-high fees charged by the big banks. Join Revolut’s 13 million customers - download the app from the App Store or Play Store and set up a Junior account today.

The Revolut prepaid card is issued by Revolut Payments Australia Pty Ltd (Australian Financial Services License no. 517589). This is general information only and does not take into account your personal objectives, situation and needs. Before you make any decision about whether to acquire a Revolut account, you should read the relevant product disclosure statement.