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Ideas to teach your child about saving and planning for the future

[caption id="attachment_257" align="alignright" width="300"]Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves. Image credit: Tristan Martin: www.flickr.com/photos/mukumbura/ Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves.
Image credit: Tristan Martin: www.flickr.com/photos/mukumbura/[/caption] I know they say money can't buy happiness, and I buy that (pun intended), but there's no avoiding the fact that money is important. A lack of money can cause all sorts of issues, and many of our stresses as adults can be traced back to our finances. I believe strongly that if we can help our children develop a good understanding of money - how to attract it, enjoy it, hold on to it, grow it - and share it - then we will be giving them a much better shot at a happy adult life. So I find it frustrating that our education system, for all its merits, seems to place virtually no importance on teaching our children about money. I know it completely failed me in this regard at any rate. And that's why I'm publishing this blog post. Submitted to us by F&C Investments, it gives some really solid tips on introducing your child to money and the basic concepts of saving - I hope you find it useful!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As parents it's often difficult to decide when and how to start teaching your children about money. Money can be a complicated subject, from its value to the concept of saving. Learning about money at an early age can help your child become a financially responsible adult. There are a variety of activities you can do with your child that will educate them in a fun and interactive way. If you have children under the age of 5, you can start by familiarising your child with money. Show them a selection of different coins and notes and help them to understand their values by talking about their colours, numbers and shapes. You can also introduce elements of maths by asking your child to arrange the money from the lowest to highest amounts. Playing shop is another great way to teach your child about money. This is essentially an educational game as it includes elements of maths such as adding and subtraction. If you price the items in the shop and use real money to pay, you can show how much you can buy when you have a specific amount of money. If you take it turns being the customer and shopkeeper, you can make sure your child is familiar with giving and receiving change. You can also teach your child about the value of money by making money more relevant to them - this can be as simple as saving money for something they want to buy (this often works best if your child is aged between 5 and 7 years). If your child receives pocket money, you can help them to understand its value by giving them the choice of saving the whole, or a portion of that amount. In order to help your child understand how long it will take to save, you can mark off the date on the calendar when they will be able to buy what they are saving for. It is also beneficial to teach your child about banks. As well as explaining what banks do, you can also get leaflets from banks and read them with your child in order to explain what services they offer. When you go shopping, ask your child to count how many banks there are, and explain what ATM machines do. With children aged 7 to 11 years, you can start to explain more complex aspects of saving to your child.  It is beneficial to get your child to participate in online shopping. Buying online is becoming increasingly more popular, from the weekly shopping to booking your next holiday. It is important to teach your children the basics of shopping online from an early age, such as whether a site is secure, if there are hidden charges when it comes to delivery, and whether there are sufficient contact details for the retailer. If you are looking to start teaching your children about money, F&C have developed the Saving Superstar guide. This resource features a range of educational activities designed to help teach children about saving and planning for the future, in a fun and interactive way. This guide also incorporates reward charts and stickers in order to track your child’s progress, and when the activities have been completed you can print off and award a special Saving Superstar certificate to your child. By teaching your child about money and saving for the future, they will have a solid understanding of finances that will benefit them as adults.