December 10 2013 Latest news:
Ed Foss, Senior writer
Friday, November 5, 2010
Basic money facts are worryingly lacking among young people, is there a solution?
Do you grocery shop with your young children or grandchildren?
If so, do you spend most of the time arguing about if they can have another packet of sweets, or whether they can have a look at the magazine and clothes aisles?
Maybe instead of having that argument you could set the children off on a mission to find out exactly what they want is worth.
Then let them have a certain amount of money per month to spend on those little luxuries they seem so keen on demanding, plus a piece of paper and a pencil to help work out how much of what they can afford and when.
It sounds rather stringent and boring, but it serves a very real purpose.
Children will continue to lack awareness of the cost of basic everyday goods unless someone chooses to teach them. It is surely unfair just to let them loose on the world of money and buying without giving them some sort of guidance.
Research from Halifax has shown that more than three quarters of children aged between eight and 15 wanted to learn more about saving.
When asked how they wanted to complete this learning, an overwhelming but certainly not surprising 57pc said by being helped by their parents.
A fifth said they wanted guidance from teachers, although one would assume that was in the higher age range.
The figures for wanting to learn from the internet or television were both in single figures.
The more worrying aspects of the same research showed that there were some serious misjudgments among youngsters as to the cost of standard products.
The estimated cost of a pint of milk was an average of £1.12, rising to £2 in Wales - as opposed to the actual average cost of 45p.
And the email generation proved it knew little of stamp costs, with the children again overestimating the value of a first class stamp as £1.16 compared to the price of 41p.
Flavia Palacios, head of savings products at Halifax, said: “That children want to learn about savings is a very positive sign.
“This is especially encouraging in the light of the government’s announcement to introduce Junior Isas as this provides an ideal opportunity for parents to start talking to their children about saving.”
And the Junior Isa does indeed seem a sensible idea, brought in following much poor press in the wake of the withdrawal of Child Trust Funds.
Richard Brown, head of savings at HSBC, said it was “of utmost importance” that savings culture was fostered in children sooner rather than later to ensure the development of good savings habits.
And Kevin Mountford, head of banking at Moneysupermarket.com, said the Junior Isa was a step in the right direction: “If the government really wants to create a savings culture we desperately need to see more creative initiatives to encourage savings.”
Give them a head start, however dull it might appear, and work on those budgeting skills.