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Lessons in Money Matters
This story appears in the Decemer 2018 issue of School LIVE.
We have all, at whatever stage of life, learnt that money is important in life. After all, we see our parents and elders working hard to earn it. Over the last 30 years, economies around the world have changed drastically. Money, which was once not only difficult to earn, but also difficult to spend, has very different dynamics today. What has changed over the years is the very perception of it. But with the changing times, we must also understand the value of it before it’s too late. We find out from our expert why there has been a dip in understanding the value that money holds, and how parents can step up and take charge.


We have all heard this for the entire duration of our school lives: ‘You should study well, so that you get good grades. Your good grades will help you get into a good college which eventually lands you a good job with a good salary.’ What parents and teachers forget to share with children growing up is – what after that? How exactly is a good salary going to lead to a good life?


Discussions in class rooms and among peers revolve around money, knowingly or unknowingly. Which brand of shoes to wear or the watch our friend has bought or where the family is planning to take the next international vacation? Students today talk about these things because that is what they hear from their parents in their social circle and sometimes even during PTMs.


In a world, where even adults fail to understand their finances and more unfortunately, don't even want to talk about it, expecting it from young adults can seem too much.



But how did things come to this?

India has transformed from a culture of majority joint families to majority nuclear families and the reasons for this can be varied. One of  major impact that this transformation to nuclear families has created over the lives of children is learning the value of money, especially from their grandparents.

With grandparents around, one was constantly reminded of what money was worth during their times, and what all just Rs. 100 could get you during their days, etc. This initial financial education with grandparents around was an ongoing process, though never a complete one.


The trends seem to have further declined these days. With many parents opting to just have a single child, and both parents working, the value of money amongst children has stooped to an all-time low, and again they are not the ones to be blamed for this. We, the parents believe that the best way to compensate for our lost time and focus on the child is to get them whatever they want and that too way before they even ask for it. Probably, we feel that we can compensate not spending time with them by showering them with materialistic happiness. The result, they just don't care about what you got them last month, last week or even today morning.


The only time we, a generation before, used to get toys was for our birthday, which was once a year or maybe if we were lucky twice. Now this toy was cherished for months and months to come. Unlike now, where kids lose interest in their toys and games in less than 15 minutes. The reason they don’t value the gift and neither the hard earned money with which it is bought, is because they get it too often and at regular intervals.


So here are a few lessons to keep in mind about money:


REWARD AND NOT REPENT: Stop buying toys randomly, especially as a compensation for some promises you were not able to keep, just because it relieves you off your guilt. Whenever a child performs well or does something praiseworthy, treat them with a reward so that they get motivated to do better!


PATIENCE IS A GOOD VIRTUE: Teach them patience by giving them a date for their purchase. Don't just give your children things without letting them know the value of time. It is necessary that today they understand that everything they get has a certain cost and comes after a lot of hard work. For every penny spent by you, there are long hours spent at work.


MAKE THEM FINANCE OFFICERS: Give them a budget for a certain time period to buy whatever they want in that. As a personal example, I remember getting Rs 50 every week, if my cupboard was kept clean and tidy. Now what I did with this money was up to me, but it made me plan and spend it on things that I needed the most, and I tried to save as much as I could.


VALUE, IS THE KEY: Every now and then it is critical to make your children realize how lucky they are. Take them to an orphanage just to make them understand how blessed they are, by getting a loving family, a proper education and most importantly support.


COMMODITY PRICING: We all have heard our mother's say at some point, "when you find out the value of the food we put on the table, that's when you will realize its value". Every once in a while allow them to make a financial transaction at a grocery store or a shop. This way every rupee that they spend even on a packet of chips will tell them know its worth.


If a child is old enough to understand, parents should share with them their own personal finances. Tell them what it takes to plan finances and share with them your salary, your loans & even their education costs. If office policy allows it, take them for a visit to your office, so that they know what you do and how hard you need to work to fulfil every demand and wish of theirs.


Believe me spending money on gifts is not the only way to show your love for your kids. Harbouring a sense of responsibility and value of money is what they need to learn from you.


Jatin Hura

Financial Planner and Consultant

Findependence Solutions

Memory exercises actually work. Or do they?



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