Contributed by: Mendy Grace
I remember my mom dismissing the idea of saving coins in a piggy bank, in which she reinforced a superstition that doing so will cause you illness, and that you’re imminently funding for this ‘illness’ by having a deliberate choice to save money. I partially regret being a submissive child way back, knowing that I could have refuted my mom’s belief that my savings were meant for something else (but I didn’t know at that time how superstitions can stop you from being and doing better). Even today, my mom would sometimes label me cheapskate when in fact, I’m just trying to have a frugal lifestyle and save as much as I can for the larger plots on my life (I love you mom! I’ll buy you pizza later.). I take solace occasionally on trivial things. But that’s not what matters the most these days.
I am now 23, a struggling adolescent continuously finding ways to live a life and make a living at the same time. And had I known that importance of saving during my younger yesteryear, I should have planted more seeds today. But that’s okay. It’s not too late for everyone. And with today’s generation having more diversified ways to save money, gone are the days that we used to crack our piggy banks open, hide them under our bed or lock them in our closet. Say goodbye to our old-fashioned and one-dimensional way of saving, it’s now time for the youngsters of this generation to learn the essence of having a bank savings account at an early age. Kids have the knack to question these things, and hilariously, these questions might make sense because they’re innately curious, and they’re going to ask a series of why and what for. Be ready then, you might encounter these questions.
Why should I save? Mom and dad will always provide. I don’t have money and they do.Kids are right. They have mom and dad to provide them everything they need. Technically, they’re not an earner, they don’t have a monthly income. All they need to do is grow up and finish a myriad of child’s play. But you can change this mindset. While it’s important to ensure that you can suffice their basic needs, why not introduce the concept of money and how mom and dad earn it through hard work? Rehearse the concept that money is something people should save so they get to buy and provide more in the future, instead of spending it rashly. By doing so, you’re instilling the idea of carefully choosing what they should spend the money for, because they took an enormous effort to practice the habit of saving and how it usually takes time. These kids will gradually stop thinking that you’re always this abundant. Instead, they will think that their family is just financially resourceful because mom and dad are wise spenders.
What should I save for? I’d rather buy lots of chocolates or you know, buy that favorite toy I have always wanted right off the bat rather than keeping my money somewhere else
A surefire way and concrete example to answer this is to establish a reward system. For an instance, you would train your kid to save PHP 20.00 from his daily baon, and gets summed up to PHP 100.00 on a weekly basis. Friday comes, and your child decides to buy that eye-candy toy he frequently checks out in a department store. That’s the best timing to encourage and ask this kid, “Hey, why not save and deposit that in a bank account? If you’re going to do that, I’ll even give you another PHP 100.00.” Your kid will do simple math and eventually realize, “Wow my savings will get doubled!”
Help the kids learn that people who save ahead compared to those who give in to impulsive purchase tend to get more advantages or rewards in the future, and people who don’t are no different from a colony of unprepared ants who did not harvest enough for winter/rainy season. Also motivate your kids to not deplete their pocket money on a short span of time so they can avoid excess expenditures. And keep in mind that you are not depriving them financially, you are just teaching them the art of simple budgeting.
Why in the bank? Can I just hide it inside my plushy, or beneath my bed sheet?
While it’s safe to say that you have succeeded in teaching your kids how to save money, it’s even a better timing to introduce them how a savings account work, that a bank is a financial institution for a huge repository of savings from a group of separate individuals, perhaps can be compared to a very huge treasure chest protected and secured by a powerful establishment. Explaining such thing will make them think that they’re part of larger and cooler scheme. This will make them second guess how secure their closet or bed might be and you have a number of ways to back this up- fire incidents, natural catastrophes, theft cases. etc.
I remembered the time when I was 7 years old, I had the chance to save coins in secrecy (because my mom, unfortunately, won’t allow me to save and she was persistent as always) and then they found this stack of coins in my room and obliged me to spend it immediately. Thankfully, my dad opposed the idea and created a savings account for me, which brings us to the last and most essential questions kids might have in mind.
But the bank is a boring/horrible place. I don’t want to stare at those straight faces and stay there for a long time. It’s just too quiet.
I felt the same fifteen years ago or so, and the first time mom took me to this place, I literally cringed. Today, I can see those kids’ eyes, curious but partly uncomfortable, like what am I doing in this place that’s too unfamiliar, alien and quite stifling? For kids to stay or even play a role in such a formal setting could be quite intimidating, and I understand the revolting feeling that keeping a savings account and doing the bank transactions myself at that young age should have been a grownup stuff. But the best thing is, that mentality did not last for too long and quite frankly, it can work the other way around. I actually thank my dad for giving me a chance and assisting me to do the math of managing my bank transactions when they were just sitting and quietly watching me from afar while I had to tiptoe, reach the counter and hand out my passbook to the bank teller.
First encounters were nervous, like I was being secretly graded by unnamed grownup faces every time the teller would announce my name. But times had passed and eventually, I reached the point where I could just effortlessly fill out deposit/withdrawal slips, get myself on queue, patiently wait for my name to get called (we now have express assist machines), and duplicate my signatures at the counter. The more I do it frequently, the less daunting the bank seems. It was only a matter of time for me to notice that bank transactions became one of the highlights of my natural clockwork, and more often than not, it’s quite giving the same sense of fulfilment that you get from a grownup mentality of youngsters who get assigned with chores. It actually makes them happy to earn their mark to the family by doing something as worthwhile and significant as this.
Since then, the rest followed through. I had always closely tracked how much had been left on my account whenever I had to withdraw a specific cash amount.
By the time your child gets older, or gets to a level where he/she is obliged to make money decisions on his own and be accountable for it, you’ll actually want to pat yourself for doing such a great job and warrant a sense of security and relief, knowing that your child has been trained during his earlier phases, and that the grownup world does not need to harshly burst his bubble when that time comes, because he’s quite oriented with possible scenarios that might ensue, and that most of troubles can be avoided if one will save, plan ahead, and construct feasible, long-term goals, no matter how surging the grownup world might be.