Have a ‘My Money Week’ of your own

Schools up and down the land have just finished ‘My Money Week’ – a time when they aim to teach children about money in an age-appropriate manner.

While personal finance is on the curriculum for secondary schools in England, many academy schools are not obliged to teach it, while it is often overlooked in primary schools as well.

That’s a shame, as academic studies suggest that our habits around money are formed by the age of seven1.

The My Money Week website, run by charity Young Enterprise, has many resources you can use if you want to teach your children about money, while schools across the UK have also showcased their favourite ideas.

Here are some that you could use, depending on the age of your child and what you want to achieve.

1. Wants and needs

Younger children can be encouraged to think about essential and non-essential spending by sorting the things they buy into ‘wants and needs’.

You can find pictures of St Mary’s School in Birmingham doing this activity on the school’s Twitter account (https://twitter.com/StMaryB17/status/1537098598718095361/photo/ 1) working out that they need coats and fruit but only ‘want’ to buy crisps and computer games.

2. Abigail’s Choice

This resource, available on the My Money Week site, is aimed at 7-11 year olds who can think about how to spend money they receive.

The activity centres around ‘Abigail’ who has received money for her Bat Mitzvah and must decide how best to spend it – on a pool, a tablet, or something else – or whether she is better off saving the cash.

3. Understanding debit cards

MyMoneyWeek is encouraging schools and home learners to role play using a debit card, by cutting one out of a piece of cardboard, and ‘spending’ money on it using a PIN. This is a good activity to discuss accidental spending on cards – for example when online gaming, as well as the advantages and dangers of contactless spending limits.

Taking things further

These suggested activities might be a starting point, but when you are teaching your own children about money, there are ways you can begin to take things further.

  • Use a pocket money card

Many children now use cards such as GoHenry, Osper, Nimbl and Rooster to allow children to spend their pocket money and even earn money through chores. These cards come with an app so children and parents can see where the money is going, and you can also set controls on where the money is spent.

Most of these cards have a monthly charge. Once a child turns 11, they can have a free bank account with a contactless card for spending and cash withdrawals, but you will have less control over how the money is spent.

  • Talk about your financial decisions

All families have different finances, and talking about how you make decisions on spending, saving and even investing can help children to understand how to make smart financial decisions in later life. Young children can take control of getting the best deals at the supermarket, while you could hold a ‘family meeting’ to talk about chosen charities if you donate regularly.

  • Make the JISA an educational experience

If your child has a junior ISA, you could be teaching them about money at the same time as helping them on their way. Buying shares or funds that invest in brands they know and understand will help them to understand investment, and telling them when they go up and down will give them some grasp of volatility in the market.

A Junior Isa is handed to your child when they turn 18, so giving them some understanding of how to run it in advance may be sensible, so that they feel an ownership of what is in it, rather than wanting to spend it all immediately.

For more ideas on how to teach children about money see the Young Money website https://www.young-enterprise.org.uk/MMW