“The most influential of all educational factors is the conversation in a child’s home.” – William
At A Young Age
Often, we forget that children have the ability to absorb all the things they experience in their surroundings. The brain of a newborn baby develops rapidly, reaching approximately 90% of its full size by the time they are 5 years old. This means that from much earlier on than we realize, we can learn habits, form patterns and make complex connections between situations in everyday life can be molded to our benefit. However, as it relates to money in the home, this was largely not the case.
Having the Conversations
A great deal of learning comes from experiences. Our parent’s stories of their own financial accidents and the lessons they have learnt on their journey would have made the concept of financial literacy much more meaningful and personal to us. For example, stating from early that a financial advisor is a good way to know how to grow your money is a key tip that many of us wish we had heard growing up. However, if we didn’t hear or read about this, it might not even cross our minds.
Give Them Responsibility
It helps to give children tasks that they become responsible for. Growing up, some of us would have been given an allowance for helping out with chores and jobs around the house, or applied for jobs during the holidays and after school. This provided first-hand experience into what money management is like, especially since we had to learn to use our resources in a sustainable way. For those of us who did not have these experiences, money management may not have been a priority. We were less concerned, and therefore took our earnings and gifts for granted.
One of the best skills that anyone can have is the ability to be self-aware. Knowing our discipline levels can make us or break us in life, and unfortunately, this was not developed in many of us from a young age. This has impacted our academic pursuits, career choices, the various relationships we have formed and the ability to ultimately raise our own families.
The average Jamaican probably missed out on a lot of financial knowledge that would have been useful to learn while growing up, and we can see the results in our lives today as we make changes to do and be better. Training a child from an early stage in financial literacy helps to enhance the growth of their overall critical thinking, giving them better options for the life they will grow to have. Take time to learn with the same grace that you would give to a child, and you can make progress.