When our children start school, we expect them to acquire a wealth of new knowledge and skills, and they generally do just that. But schools are under such pressure to meet academic progress and attainment targets that some of life’s most important lessons are side-lined. According to research by Halifax (1), our children are out of touch with reality when it comes to money – according to them:
It’s clear that we need to work on financial literacy as nation and in May 2017 some sixteen major savings and investment providers invested a collective £1m to launch a charity called KickStart Money aiming to take financial education to 18,000 primary school children. But this will reach just a fraction of the population. So, parents need to plug the gap and teach our children good money habits.
For most these lessons begin with a piggy bank or pocket money. A regular allowance in return for the completion of household chores or in reward for keeping up with homework teaches children that money is earned not just received. By providing a regular weekly or monthly amount, children can be encouraged to save some of their allowance (for a new bike or trainers) and will begin to understand that if they spend all their money on sweets and magazines one week, it will take longer to reach that savings goal. If like many of us you’ve found it hard to keep track of paying regular pocket money, there are now a number of apps available which can help.
Apps for Primary Aged Children
For those with younger children an app that rewards good behaviour or chores completed like RoosterMoney or iAllowance may be worth considering - the latter allows you to set non-monetary rewards such as screen-time or getting ice-cream. While they both provide useful ways of tracking earnings, savings and rewards, neither of these incorporates real money via a prepaid card so when your child wants to ‘spend’ their allowance or buy that new bike they’ve been saving for you’ll have to be ready to foot the bill.
Apps for Secondary Aged Children
Apps aimed at all age groups enable children to set savings goals and show their progress towards them which helps to teach basic budgeting. The ones aimed at older children such as Nimbl and Osper have less focus on rewards and chores and with a prepaid debit card included are more useful for teaching children good spending habits. Parents load the child’s card with their pocket money and then receive real-time notifications about the amount being spent and where. You can also set rules to allow various types of spending (cash machine, debit card payments, online shopping), and because the card is prepaid there’s no way the child can overspend.
Apps for over 18s
Whilst technically adults, those in this age group may face the biggest money challenges whether leaving home to go to university, local college or starting their first job, their money management skills will involve bigger sums. This year they will be the first to gain access to their Child Trust Fund set up for all new-borns from September 2002, so managing money, budgeting and keeping track of savings and borrowing all become more important.
LEBC’s Hummingbird app is designed to help adults of all ages, budget and keep track of their savings and spending. Powered using open banking technology, it enables the user to set saving and spending goals, whether that is for a new car, holiday or to make a student loan stretch to the end of term. It is available on Apple and Android devices at a cost of £1.49 and 99p per month respectively and available to existing LEBC clients free. It doesn’t require users to invest any money nor to have an adviser but can give access to an adviser and other online services such as mortgages and cash savings management if they are needed. For a free three-month trial please click this link.
Director of Public Policy, LEBC
(1) Annual Halifax Pocket Money Survey 2018
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