Faced with the economic problems we are currently facing, some parents feel that they are doing the right thing and protecting their children as much as possible against the future financial frustrations that await them, keeping the matter silent.
A big mistake, according to Beatrice Copper Roy, a clinical psychologist, childhood and adolescence specialist, who urges elementary school to learn better about money.
What does financial education consist of in specific terms?
Beatrice Copper Ryer It is about teaching children the concept of meaning and showing them that it is a reality like any other that cannot be ignored. From a certain age, they must understand that we “do not live on love and fresh water”, that we have a cost of living and that every family has a budget to manage it.
Why is it so important to educate them on the subject?
This education is the responsibility of parents. It’s not just a speech, it’s an example. Many adults manage their budget poorly, with a quarter of the population overdrying each month. This forces some people to use consumer credit and many end up with huge debts. Knowing how to manage your budget from an early age guarantees a long-term balance of life.
Is it more important to survive the epidemic?
Obviously. It is important to show that no one is free from financial worries and that family can go through difficult times. It is commendable that children do not want to suffer from this problem, but you should not hide everything. Especially since parents whose jobs have been affected by the health crisis are feeling anxious, far from being ignored by their children. But be careful not to over-emphasize the truth. This can be unsafe, especially for young children. I knew a patient in the middle of a divorce who told his 9-year-old daughter: “I hope we don’t sleep under the bridge.” The latter took the metaphor at face value and suffered from it. With the youngest, we reassure them that we have what we need for our needs and that we have to choose what we don’t need.
Knowing how to manage your budget from an early age guarantees a long-term balance of life.
Beatrice Copper Roar, Psychologist
At what age should they be “educated”?
At the time of leaving primary school, about 10-11 years old. Below this age, the concept of money is still very abstract. Young children are not independent enough, they are still not allowed to go home alone or go shopping. When kids grow up, pocket money is a great way to empower them. They find the joy of getting something but also discover the limitations associated with money that adults already know well: the wait and the frustration of buying something beyond the budget. Through this management, we see the formation of characters independently of parents. There are spenders and those who hoard, there are grasshoppers who never have enough and ants who plan everything.
How should this pocket money be framed?
Parents agree on a set adapted to age and needs. In the case of young people, this money is distributed on a weekly basis and when they grow up, the distribution is separated on a monthly basis. Children do whatever they want with their pocket money. If the savings disappear quickly, on the contrary, it is a good lesson for the child. Thus, by letting him do it, he alone will realize that he is a perforated basket. And above all, parents must not fill in the gaps and gaps. For teens, this monthly budget marks a milestone in adult life because it is similar to a salary in a certain way. If the young man spends large sums, the parents may try to negotiate with him and explain to him that waiting for a beautiful gift is more satisfying than spending compulsorily on products with little interest. And we can make them more responsible by paying for their transportation and lunch.
Through money management, we see the formation of independent character from parents
What if you are limited by your money and want to pay more?
We talk about it when kids around 10-11 years old hear it. We let them know that at the moment we are saving our money for necessities, rent, food, clothes. If the child continues and wants a console, for example, we may offer him to wait for his birthday to get his money back from his grandparents, his godmother or his godfather. We must not close the possibilities and give up hope in the end.
How do you explain that money is sometimes so taboo in the family?
It is very cultural. We don’t have American relaxation with money. This restraint, of course, is associated with our Judo-Christian upbringing, which is considered dirty and noble. Historically, the aristocracy preferred to emphasize the moral quality of courage rather than financial gain. We live in a consumer society and all of this is highly contradictory today because children are important actors.
The role of parents is not to control expenses. Children do whatever they want with their pocket money
Is opening a bank account a solution to your cost control and learning?
Yes. We are working with an extremely wealthy and autonomous generation to place online shopping orders, but some teens are unable to take responsibility because they still use their parents’ bank cards and therefore their vision for representing their purchases is unclear. Banks are adapting and offering specific offers for 10-12 year olds without permission for overdraft. The teen can consult his bank statement in a mobile application and track his daily expenses. He uses a bank card linked to his account and finally understands what this abstract way of paying by adults is used for. For each expense, a line in the bank statement and a declining budget
Some parents argue with their child about a good report card or household chores for a few francs. Is that a good idea?
When it comes to household chores, I’m not in favor of this idea. We can clean the cutlery and put it in the dishwasher without paying, it’s part of family solidarity: everyone helps each other and sharing tasks is beneficial. On the other hand, if the child comes up with a good report then why not give him a reward. It is better if the money is converted into a real gift. But you don’t have to be a carrot every time to get a good grade. In this case, it will permanently activate a reward system, so that children enter the system of blackmail and systematic discussion.
Should we worry when our teenager is primarily aspiring for a job for his or her financial gain? How do you convince him that “happiness cannot be bought with money”?
No need to formalize. This is any other inspiration that may develop during your study. The right response is to explain to your child that the ideal is to combine this desire with the joy that work gives us, because it is a daily task, repeated throughout the year. Yet, this conversation may be an opportunity to remember that joy and happiness do not always go through unbridled material use. Baking a cake, dancing to a song, playing a board game also brings joy, which is free.
Tiffin Honet / Le Figaro