Back to school: money lessons for the whole family


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Back to school: money lessons for the whole family

Maths, English, Science, Drama...Money?

It’s back-to-school time, and while your kids may be solving equations or learning their ABCs, it’s equally important to help them brush up on their financial education.

Given my role, it’s probably unsurprising to hear that as a mother of two and I am a strong advocate for financial education starting at a young age. And it’s pleasing to see I’m not alone with 90 per cent of Australian parents believing financial education is important for young people.

Interestingly, new research from Suncorp and the Financial Basics Foundation ESSI Money Challenge revealed the money topics students need help in most include budgeting, superannuation and tax. With most of that education occurring within the home, luckily there are plenty of ways to incorporate money lessons outside the classroom.

To introduce budgeting, use the weekly grocery shop as an opportunity to talk about your spending decisions. Or play a game challenging your children to guess the price of common household expenses. The moneysmart.gov.au website is a good source for ideas.

It’s important to start early. By the time children reach high school, three-quarters own a transaction account and receive a regular income from a part-time job or an allowance.

For most, this will also be the first time they are exposed to concepts like superannuation and tax. To make it real, go through their first payslip together and explain some of the less familiar terms to boost their money literacy and confidence.

Keep looking for ways to make money education tangible. Seeing cash exchanged for an item or watching coins build up in a piggy bank is easier for young children to grasp than the tap-and-go payments afforded in our cashless society.

Most importantly, it’s great to bring finance chat to the dinner table. We know these conversations have a noticeable effect on a child or teen’s understanding of money, so keep talking about it.

Have a great school year.