RBC WM Managing Director tells us how we can teach children money management

Writing on week sixteen of lockdown, RBC Wealth Management’s Managing Director and Head of Relationship Management – Annabel Bosman – tells us this is an ideal time to start teaching children about the world of money management and financial skills.

Having had to juggle a busy work life and childcare, Bosman tells us how she has turned the family’s dining room table into a joint work space, has incorporated stock market discussions into maths lessons, and even added extra money management lessons to the school work her children have been set.

While this may sound like another story of life optimisation and the sort of successful responsibility-juggling that many of us can (and perhaps, should) only aspire to, the RBC Director’s personal story is filled with nuggets of advice we ought to give some thought to.

Money management in mundane tasks

As well as finding that children can be often more logical than adults (allegedly), Bosman states that children are naturally more inclined to fit new ideas into their existing schema of understanding. Between these traits, children are well-equipped to pick up some of the key – if rudimentary – philosophies of wealth management and philosophy. The ability to pick up these skills, she says, is something that will help them in later life, and their development can be seamlessly integrated into their everyday activities.

For instance, she talks about generational differences in junior savings attitudes and opportunities. While some developments, such as apps, games and in-service products, make it easy for money to be spent instantly; and in turn lessen the opportunity for pocket money to be seen as tangible and valuable commodity. We should also note that new tech-enabled opportunities actually help children understand the realities of budgeting and investment from a young age.

One example Bosman mentions, is how the video-game Roblox has given her children a virtual simulation of what are essentially real-life saving and investment cycles. Working, saving, spending money to build and then up-scaling and adding new abilities and items. While innocent enough, familiarity with such processes may prove invaluable when putting oneself in the mindset to save for a house or a holiday, or even spending on investments.

Similarly, other tools have and will continue to be developed, such as GoHenry: a service that allows you to give your children a pre-paid card to learn both budgeting and, importantly, money management with virtual cash (which hopefully helps them avoid difficult lessons with their first debit and credit cards).

In addition, Bosman talks about some fun ways to teach children about financial mechanisms, such as applying nominal taxes and interest rates to their pocket money expenditure. She gives examples such as a “mummy-tax” on buying chocolate bars and faux-interest rates when they want to borrow money, though we could even go further and talk about bonuses to reinforce healthy or helpful activities and matching any contributions they make to their piggy bank (etc).

Managing money taboos

Of course, finance is a delicate subject for everyone, and it should rightly be viewed as an even more sensitive subject when taught to children. It is unhealthy to teach them that money is either the most important thing in life, or that merit and scorn is measured by financial rewards and punishments.

With that being said, implementing some creative money management games into a child’s life can be both fun and offer valuable skills and mindsets for later life. Speaking from experience – though still young myself – being taught the value of money, how to spend and save intelligently, has been invaluable to my ability to live a so-far contented life. This began with my dad paying me to help him with DIY, my mum starting a savings account for me and rewarding me for tucking some money away, and my stepdad paying me for doing odd-jobs around his shop – all of which taught me that money ought to be earned and respected, but not revered.

Speaking on the need to challenge the children’s money management taboo, Bosman remarks:

“Whatever our financial position, we often bury our heads in the sand when it comes to money, and don’t always have a clear financial plan, but when we start to put down on paper what’s going in and out, we immediately start to feel more in control, thus becoming more engaged. It can be uncomfortable to have that conversation with your family, but we regularly speak with our clients about all manner of sensitive subjects including putting wills in place, inheritance and protecting loved ones. Naturally, this is also bringing conversations to the fore around succession planning, legacy, philanthropy and even one’s own mortality. When times are good, it’s easy to not have these thoughts at the forefront of your mind, but in challenging times like these, it highlights how essential it is to talk. And just as with my children, there are plenty of apps and websites that can help you take the first steps.”

She adds that for those looking for actual lessons for their children, young money management tips are easily accessed via video guides on YouTube and Tik-Tok, and through resources such as Usborne Money for Beginners.


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Senior Journalist at the UK Investor Magazine. Also a contributing writer at the Investment Observer, UK Property Journal and UK Startup Magazine. Postgraduate of King's College London with a specialisation in Business Ethics. Interested in Development Economics and David Hume.