Parents urged to talk to kids about money as early as preschool

22 January 2019

As children head back to school, parents are being urged to talk to their children about money, as early as preschool.

Dan Crotty, National Manager of the Saver Plus program with community organisation, the Brotherhood of St Laurence says 84 per cent of parents who do the Saver Plus program around Australia teach vital budgeting skills to their kids.

“We find the expensive back to school time inspires parents on lower incomes to join Saver Plus, with the incentive that ANZ matches their savings up to $500 to pay for education expenses,” he said. “But most discover other major benefits. They learn how to build a savings habit, how to budget, and importantly, they’re encouraged to talk to their children about money from a young age – as early as preschool and primary school, right through the high school years.”

“When parents role model good money behaviours and have open conversations about the household budget, we see that participant’s children are better equipped to manage their money as they grow. This will help establish good money habits for life. It’s easy to find ways to talk to children about money, no matter how old they are,” he said.

  • You need money to buy things
  • Money includes notes and coins
  • You earn money by working
Primary School
  • Comparing prices and shopping around before you buy something is a good habit
  • You need to be patient when saving up
  • You can choose how to spend your money
  • Let your kids pay for small expenses with their pocket or birthday money. This helps them work out how far money goes
High School
  • Doing a budget helps you work out how you should spend your money
  • Credit is money that you borrow and have to pay back with interest
  • It is good to have savings in case of a money emergency
  • Keep track of mobile phone data and expenses to make sure you don't run out of credit or get a larger bill than you expected

Mr Crotty said these lessons are even more crucial as we become an increasingly cashless society. “Children no longer have a tangible connection to money as we move to digital banking and tapping cards at the checkout. They also have little understanding of how credit works and the potential impact of debt on their finances.”

Paula Williams says the $500 matched savings enticed her to do Saver Plus, but she’s turned her finances around with the money skills she learned, and she is sharing those skills with her daughters – Izabella, 12, Charlotte, 10 and Macey, 8.

‘It’s been a struggle for the last six years since my husband passed away; he had always been the money man. I had to learn how to budget. There was no such thing as savings. We lived day to day, week to week. Saver Plus has taught me lifelong lessons which are being instilled into three precious girls who watch their mother smash single motherhood head on!” she said.

Through better budgeting, Paula has achieved a lot since she finished the Saver Plus program in 2017. She has bought a laptop, a car and solar panels.

An independent 2018 RMIT University report, Saver Plus: Pathways to Wellbeing found that of participants who completed the program, 87 per cent continued to save the same amount or more, three to seven years later.