Show me the money, Mummy!

“We will not be buying shopping bags in this house,” I announced to the children in the wake of the 5p charge for plastic bags. This time my outburst was meant with understanding and agreement. That was not the case a few years ago. We would have argued about why just 5p a few times a week would be cause for alarm.

Another relevant comment was made by my friend Elaine, with whom I met up for coffee on Sunday. We had just said our ‘hellos’ when she poked me and said “I can touch you, so you exist, you are actually real!” I laughed at her comment but marvelled at how we still need touch to appreciate the finer things in life.

In a world where everything digital and electronic is increasingly becoming the norm, how can we help grasp the concept of exchange taking place when financial transactions are made and subsequently explain how and why people get into debt?

At the store, I was watching two boys with their mum, pointing at different things and saying, “mummy I want this, and I want that,” “I want this!” one of them continued, as he pointed to another gadget. Thankfully we were in the pound shop so the costs of the items would not add up to much should they decide to purchase. Or would they be making a saving due to the nature of the shop? Seriously? Will the cost of paying for 10, £1 small items in the pound shop constitute a saving?

I’ll let you decide.

Another 11 year old, recently interviewed on the ITV News, February 16th, 2018 said, “I use my mum’s card, I know the PIN, I think you just use it and don’t think it comes from anywhere,” “But I found out later on that it comes from somewhere, and it’s the money that your parents have earned.”

It seems that the rise of cashless transactions is fraught with a different set of challenges:

• Kids of today may have no idea about money as they don’t ‘feel’ or ‘touch’ it.

• The rise of ‘mobile money’ such as PayPal, Uber, and other contactless financial transactions means they don’t see the exchanges taking place.

• The rise of ‘easy-credit’ with online shopping may encourage impulse purchases that encourage debt if unmanaged.

Current research suggests that children learn money habits from around age 5, while watching their parents’ behaviour with money; and that they need to be taught to save, especially for the long term goals. Involving children in financial decisions at home can have a good effect on their adult financial behaviours along with using physical tools and technology to demonstrate the impact of spending and saving. An opportunity to learn how to manage money themselves, in a fun and interactive way, at home can provide one of the best ways to simulate spending and saving in the real world, hence the bMoneywize concept.

My generation has witnessed the transition from physical to invisible financial exchanges and can more easily understand how money works but for so much of the millennial and younger ones, it would be wise to teach them the basics. It’s this dilemma that motivated me to seek the ‘advice’ of 22 teenagers in the cause to create and develop a solution to help them play, learn and save; teach their family and friends to value money: bMoneywize.

A kind word from the BBC….”A few bowls of rice led to the creation of bMoneywize. The idea is that players have to keep and generate money wherever they can. They throw the dice to pick up cards from different categories. Each card throws up a different scenario from an unexpected tax rebate to the boiler breaking down. Players have to work out how to respond in order to protect their money – Monopoly of the real world if you like”

The need to create a solution became compelling after a series of after-school parties in our home with jollof rice on the menu. I envision a world where children and people are more content with they have, live within their means, understand how money works and learn to plan for the future.

Useful books to teach kids about money on Amazon:

Ten pence

Save your acorns

Comment from the board game enthusiast

bMoneywize board game

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