Teaching your kids about the true value of money

Money is something that has played a central role in the development of civilisation for thousands of years. Today’s currency in South Africa, the Rand, was introduced quite recently – back in 1961 when it became legal tender just before the Republic of South Africa came into being.

But for the beginning of money as an actual commodity, which came to pass as a substitute for bartering, you have to go back many thousands of years.

The Mesopotamians created the shekel which was a unit of weight that was equivalent to specific weights of barley. This happened circa 3000BC. The first recognised currency was created in Lydia which is now part of Turkey. This was during the reign of King Alyattes around 600BC. The first known coin featured a roaring lion on its face.

Bank notes came into being in 1661AD and the first ever credit card was issued in 1946.

Anyone can become rich

Today, people use their financial status to indicate their social standing. The richer they the more they feel they should be recognised. But at the end of the day, money is only money, and it certainly is not any sort of a judge of character. Anyone can become rich. Even those who start from humble beginnings or whose family raised them in poverty.

However, in order to even aspire to financial prosperity or well-being, it is essential be financially aware. It is something that both the South African Government and the finance industry are acutely aware of. It has spawned a number of learning educational initiatives.

Improving the financial literacy of the South African people

The Banking Association of South Africa in particular, are aiming to improve the nation’s financial literacy, and their attitude and behaviour towards money so that people can become financially independent and can enjoy financial inclusion. They, together with the SA government, see this as they best way to improve and shape the country’s economy.

The best time to learn anything of course is when you are young which is why it is so important that today’s parents should teach their children to become financially savvy. When minds are young and relatively undeveloped, the speed with which they can absorb new information is truly amazing. By taking advantage of this potential, you can teach your children best practice in terms of money.

Starting with pocket-money

The first chance you will get to put your children on the right path is giving them pocket-money. First of all, you need to do away with the word “give.” As we all know money does not grow on trees. It has to be earned and this is the first lesson.

By giving your young ones little tasks to do in the home or garden, you can get them used to the idea that money is obtained in return for labour. This teaches them not only the true value of money, but that it is also a finite commodity. Small amounts can be earned for work performed.

It’s a good starting point. There are many other things your children will need to learn about money and how it is put to best use and the article referred to above about teaching your little ones to become savvy about money will give you some useful tips about what to teach them and when they will be suitable old enough to take your teachings on board.