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Better support needed in teaching children about money

Westforce Credit Union
8 February 2012
Parents need to be better supported in teaching their children about money

Improving New Zealand’s financial literacy levels won’t be solved until parents are given the tools to teach their kids about money through initiatives that go far beyond issuing some money saving tips.

Westforce Credit Union operations manager, Victor Martick, said that anecdotal evidence from the credit union – and that of recent studies like the *Massey University study into the spending habits of 300 New Zealanders – suggest most people know what to do, but it’s the ‘doing’ that challenges most people.

"Improving financial literacy for kids requires tools, structures and systems to pass that knowledge on to your children.

"Of course teaching people to budget and to save is good, but it’s also a bit of a red herring when it comes to the real problem. What we are saying is that knowing how to fish, and teaching someone else how to fish, are two different skill sets.

"We have to make it possible for people to practice good financial literacy, and then we have to help them teach it to their children," he said. “So rather than solving financial literacy through future generations, we have to start now with the parents.”

Mr Martick's comments come on the heels of earlier findings by a Massey University study on the spending habits and financial literacy of 300 New Zealanders, which concluded that parents were the 'sole source of financial education for 66 per cent of respondents’.

Westforce Credit Union’s own financial experience with adults, parents and children led the credit union to team up with the developers of ‘emagineIF’ – a new platform that empowers families to learn, play and grow together.

"emangineIF helps parents teach their children about money. It shows the correlation between work and earning money and the relationship between goal setting, aspirations and savings towards an end result,” he said.

Mr Martick urged parents, the media and financial support organisations to get behind the emagineIF initiative.

“Good financial common sense is easier than some might think with the right tools and right support. emagineIF helps children learn about where money comes from, and how to save money. The whole family can be involved in the process.

“The first step begins with registering for this free service,” he said.

* How young New Zealanders learn about personal finance: a longitudinal study


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