Parents urged to talk to kids about money as early as preschool

As children head back to school, parents are being urged to talk to their children about money, as early as preschool.

Dan Crotty, National Manager of the Saver Plus program with community organisation, the Brotherhood of St Laurence says 84 per cent of parents who do the Saver Plus program around Australia teach vital budgeting skills to their kids.

“We find the expensive back to school time inspires parents on lower incomes to join Saver Plus, with the incentive that ANZ matches their savings up to $500 to pay for education expenses,” he said. “But most discover other major benefits. They learn how to build a savings habit, how to budget, and importantly, they’re encouraged to talk to their children about money from a young age – as early as preschool and primary school, right through the high school years.”

“When parents role model good money behaviours and have open conversations about the household budget, we see that participant’s children are better equipped to manage their money as they grow. This will help establish good money habits for life. It’s easy to find ways to talk to children about money, no matter how old they are,” he said.

See table below: Savings tips for kids from preschool to high school.

Mr Crotty said these lessons are even more crucial as we become an increasingly cashless society. “Children no longer have a tangible connection to money as we move to digital banking and tapping cards at the checkout. They also have little understanding of how credit works and the potential impact of debt on their finances.”

Paula Williams says the $500 matched savings enticed her to do Saver Plus, but she’s turned her finances around with the money skills she learned, and she is sharing those skills with her daughters – Izabella, 12, Charlotte, 10 and Macey, 8.

‘It’s been a struggle for the last six years since my husband passed away; he had always been the money man. I had to learn how to budget. There was no such thing as savings. We lived day to day, week to week. Saver Plus has taught me lifelong lessons which are being instilled into three precious girls who watch their mother smash single motherhood head on!” she said.

Through better budgeting, Paula has achieved a lot since she finished the Saver Plus program in 2017. She has bought a laptop, a car and solar panels. See photo and more on Paula’s story below.

An independent 2018 RMIT University report, Saver Plus: Pathways to Wellbeing found that of participants who completed the program, 87 per cent continued to save the same amount or more, three to seven years later.

Media inquiries: Brotherhood of St Laurence Communications Manager, Sharon Lee Sharon.Lee@bsl.org.au phone (03) 9483 1329 or mobile 0499 300 982.

Savings tips for kids from preschool to high school

Pre-school

 

  • You need money to buy things
  • Money includes notes and coins
  • You earn money by working

Primary School

 

  • Comparing prices and shopping around before you buy something is a good habit
  • You need to be patient when saving up
  • You can choose how to spend your money
  • Let your kids pay for small expenses with their pocket or birthday money. This helps them work out how far money goes.

High School

 

  • Doing a budget helps you work out how you should spend your money
  • Credit is money that you borrow and have to pay back with interest
  • It is good to have savings in case of a money emergency
  • Keep track of mobile phone data and expenses to make sure you don't run out of credit or get a larger bill than you expected

 

Source: ASIC MoneySmart website:

www.moneysmart.gov.au/life-events-and-you/families/teaching-kids-about-money

Saver Plus facts

The Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZ developed Saver Plus in 2003. The program is funded by ANZ and the Australian Department of Social Services.

Saver Plus assists people on lower incomes to develop a savings habit and achieve a savings goal. Participants are assigned a Saver Plus Coordinator from the local delivery organisation, and open an ANZ Progress Saver account, into which they make regular deposits. They complete the MoneyMinded program to build their financial management skills and when they reach their savings goal after at least 10 months, ANZ matches the amount saved up to $500, for the purchase of an educational item.

Community organisations that deliver the program are the Brotherhood of St Laurence, The Smith Family, The Benevolent Society and Berry Street. Other agencies that offer the program include Ballarat Group Training, Bethany and Jewish Care Victoria.

Saver Plus is delivered in 60 locations across Australia in every state and territory. More than 40,000 people have completed the program since 2003.

An independent 2018 RMIT University report, Saver Plus: Pathways to Wellbeing found that of participants who completed the program:

  • 87% continued to save the same amount or more, three to seven years later
  • 78% were better equipped for unexpected expenses
  • 80% had more control over their finances
  • 73% were better able to provide for their families.

To be eligible for Saver Plus you must:

  • Be 18 years or over and have a child at school, or attend vocational education yourself
  • Have regular income from paid employment (you or your partner)
  • Have a Health Care or Pensioner Concession Card
  • Receive an eligible Commonwealth social security benefit, allowance or payment.

 Enquiries about can be made by:

  • Completing an online enquiry form at saverplus.org.au or
  • Calling or texting name and postcode to 1300 610 355.

Paula’s story

Paula lives in Moreton Bay, north of Brisbane in Queensland with her three daughters– Izabella, 12, Charlotte, 10 and Macey, 8. She is a full time solo mum who is seeking work, a Lifeline volunteer, and worked as a casual cleaner when she did Saver Plus in Caboolture in 2016–17.

“It’s been a struggle for the last six years since my husband passed away; he had always been the money man. I had to learn how to budget. There was no such thing as savings. We lived day to day, week to week.”

“Saver Plus has taught me lifelong lessons which are being instilled into three precious girls who watch their mother smash single motherhood head on!”

“My girls are always reminding me about what we call ‘leaks’. Like every time I went to the supermarket I used to grab a choc milk which I didn’t really need. Now we carry reusable cups in the car. When we get take away, we top it up with food in the fridge.”

Through better budgeting, Paula has achieved a lot since she finished doing Saver Plus in 2017.

“We got a laptop which has been so useful for me and the kids. Before, the only computer we had access to was at school or the library.”

“I had an older car that was about to die, so I saved $6000, got a loan and traded it in. The loan is almost paid off and now I am enjoying the benefits of cheaper petrol with a smaller car.”

“I’ve had solar panels installed. Now I don’t have electricity bills. And I’ve had the house fenced for security.”

“This year is the first time in six years, since my husband passed away, that my three daughters and myself will enjoy a holiday.”

“I still have $12.50 going into the account every week, and last time I looked I’ve got over $3,500 in there.”

“Each year I try to set a goal to save for. Most of the time I try to do improvements on the house, to boost its value. Aircon will be next.”

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