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Money & Me: Teaching Australian kids about money

MyBudget is proud to partner with Project Gen Z in the creation of a new money education program for Australian kids. ‘Money & Me’ introduces children to concepts that develop real-world money skills and aims to set them up for lifelong financial success. Get your free copy for a strictly limited time.

Money and the ‘school of life’

Given that nearly every adult has to handle money at some point, you would imagine that kids would learn all about money at school. Instead, most of us are left to learn about money from the ‘school of life.’  

We grow up watching how the people around us handle money, followed by practicing with our own hard-earned cash. With any luck, the lessons are not too expensive.

In my case, I watched how my Mum ran the household. She was only 16 years old when she had me, and with four kids by the time she was 24 (including a disabled son), time was always short. Budgeting was probably the last thing on her mind. 

Money was always tight, but Mum was also incredibly generous. We didn’t have a lot, but what we did have, we shared with friends, family and the community.

Dad was a self-employed builder and, with such a busy household, I took it upon myself to start helping him with his bookkeeping when I was 13. It came naturally to me and was something I enjoyed doing. I especially loved the challenge of managing his cash flow—making sure there was enough money coming in to cover his expenses going out. 

Dad quite honestly took any help he could get. When accounting software such as Quicken became available, this made bookkeeping much easier. In fact, after my parents separated and Dad’s business started growing, I taught my step-mum how to use Quicken so she could take over.

More money, more choices

In a way, I learnt everything you should not do with money. But they were such good lessons. For example, I remember times when the electricity was about to be cut off because someone forgot to pay the bill. 

I have no doubt that those experiences gave me more financial confidence than a lot of my peers. In my late-teens and early twenties, while my friends were spending their money on clothes and going out, I was setting myself financial goals like saving for a house. 

And believe it or not, I enjoyed it. Saving has always been fun and exciting for me.

Aside from my anecdotal experience, research confirms that learning money skills in early life can have benefits, including:

  • Fewer defaults and higher credit scores among young adults
  • Improved savings habits
  • Greater net worth during peak earning years
  • Knowledge of ways to decrease insurance costs
  • Comparison and sale shopping skills

I would also argue that being good with money can lead to dreaming bigger dreams. And isn’t that what every parent wants, for their child to have the opportunity to reach their potential? Not for their child’s options to be diminished or constrained by a lack of financial confidence. Not to find themselves stuck in an undesirable job, situation or place because they’re tethered to debt or racked with financial insecurity. 

We all want our children to move confidently in the world. Not to chase money or material things, but to understand how money fits within a life of meaning and purpose.

Financial education framework

Financial literacy has come under scrutiny lately thanks to the banking royal commission and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) looking into the effectiveness of school banking programs.  

Nonetheless, financial education delivered in schools provides a basic foundation. But by comparison, it’s a small part of the overall curriculum. And so we come back to the fact that most kids learn most of their money skills—what to do and what not to do—from their parents and carers. 

That’s a lot of responsibility to put on parents, especially considering that many of them lacked any positive money education experiences themselves. A 2019 survey by Raiz found that 25% of parents received little to no financial education from their parents. 

The question is: how can we support parents better? 

What can we do to help parents help their kids develop better money skills? That’s the question Liz Volpe and I asked each other. 

Liz is the director of Project Gen Z, a social enterprise committed to preparing the next generation of world changers for successful lives and careers. They do amazing work designing resources that aim to inspire big thinking, creative and practical problem solving, teamwork, entrepreneurship and more.

It was not an idle question. Over the next year, Liz and the MyBudget team collaborated to develop a financial literacy program that aims to help teachers—and especially parents—tackle the fundamentals of money education in a way that’s fun and engaging.

Introducing Money & Me: A Kid’s Guide to Good Money Habits 

The program is called ‘Money & Me’ and it introduces children to concepts that develop financial literacy and real-world money skills.  

The workbooks are designed to be used by kids with parents, teachers or carers. The program will also be offered as an in-school program. 

‘Mini Dreamers‘ is for five to 10 year olds, while ‘Game Changers’ is for kids aged 11 to 17. (My daughter Ellie finished the ‘Mini Dreamers’ workbook and loved it!)

If you feel like this is yet another responsibility to load on parents’ shoulders, you’ll be pleased to know that the activities are light, fun and practical. 

For many parents, the workbooks will expand on topics you’re already talking about (eg. doing chores or saving for the things you want). For others, the activities will spark teaching opportunities you had never thought of.

For a limited time, get the workbooks for FREE!

As part of MyBudget’s mission to eliminate financial stress in Australian communities, we are excited to announce that for a limited time you can download the Money & Me workbooks for FREE. 

We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity. I promise that the workbooks don’t feel like homework! In fact, they could make a fun school holidays project for kids that are looking for fun stuff to do at home.

Use the code MYBUDGET at checkout. That’s a saving of $19.99 per workbook.

To get your free download go to: https://daretodreamshop.com/collections/financial-literacy-for-kids

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This article has been prepared for information purposes only, and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

All customised budgets and consultations with money experts are subject to MyBudget’s qualification criteria. We recommend that you read and consider our Product Disclosure Statement.

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