The festive season is typically a time of frivolous spending, but there are some families that use this time of the year to get ahead and grow their children’s financial literacy, appreciation and security.
Director and Regional Head at Citadel, Nic Horn, shares four practical ways in which you can ensure your children start the journey to financial independence:
- GIVE GIFTS THAT KEEP ON GIVING
If you want to give your children or grandchildren a gift that truly keeps on giving, consider setting up a tax-free savings plan with unit trusts for them, so that they can start building a nest egg from a young age, that unlocks the power of compound interest over time and the learnings that this provides. “One of my clients calls this ‘Daddy’s don’t touch money’. Not only will it help children to build meaningful savings over time, it’s also a great conversation-starter on how money works, especially if you can talk to them about how compound interest works,” says Horn.
“You can incentivise them further by saying they can ‘whip off the cream’ every year – to spend a portion of the interest and growth earned on their investment in the year on something nice they want to have or do.”
2. GIVE THE GIFT OF FINANCIAL INSIGHT
“Some children can be frivolous with money. None of us want that for our children. We want to raise children who appreciate and understand money, and who will take good care of their money and those around them for the rest of their lives.”
One way of nurturing a healthy and responsible money mindset in your children or grandchildren is to make them pay for things that adults traditionally manage, such as their annual school fees or other annual expenses. “This will make the child think twice about how much things cost and what it feels like to honour large financial commitments. You learn more from the bitterness of loss than the sweetness of receiving,” says Horn.
“Another tactic worth considering is to sponsor them one or two annual meetings with your financial advisor who takes care of your investments – even if it’s only 10 minutes. This way they can really learn what’s happening with your investments (which will one day be theirs) and how to take care of money from a young age.”
- GIVE THE GIFT OF FAMILY CONNECTION
“You can also ‘give’ your children money that they put in a family holiday kitty. For instance, it could be R1,000 per child for the holidays. If children put their ‘own’ money towards family time, it encourages them to decide how the family spends it to have the most fun together. They will likely be more invested in doing things with the family, instead of lazing their days away gaming or watching TV. And time together, in our time-poor world, is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give to your family.”
- GIVE THE GIFT OF PAYING IT FORWARD
If you do give your children a financial gift, encourage them to spend a good portion of it on the charity of their choice, be it an animal, food security, literacy or environmental charity, or any other cause they are passionate about. “We live in a country beset by all kinds of problems and challenges. Making contributions like this deepens awareness of what these are. This will teach them to become empathetic citizens and caring humans. Parting with that money and seeing it make a greater impact in someone else’s life, or important cause, than their own lives, is a beautiful lesson they will carry with them into adulthood. It teaches them the concept of a social return on investment and the impact of giving in a society where taking seems to outdo giving.”
Horn concludes that money can’t buy time, but it can buy time together. Money can’t buy love, but the way you spend it can be very caring and meaningful. It can teach our children remarkable life lessons they will carry with them during the holidays and far beyond it, into the rest of their lives.