As a child, I seem to remember I was always saving money in piggy banks. I had 5 pigs and each one was saving for a different purpose. I put different coins in each pig and had them prioritised, so I knew what percentage of any pocket money, went into each pig. I even had a money box that I was saving to give to charity (WWF at the time, because of my love of animals).
In hindsight, it was great that I was so organised, disciplined and conscientious about money, but not much of it ever made it to the bank. Each piggy bank was used for its allocated purpose, but only one of these piggies, was destined for the bank and I didn’t start banking money, until I was much older. Being from a small family, money at birthdays and Christmas was very rare too, I usually got presents.
By time I was 16, my life savings amounted to… £450. Now whilst this is nothing to be sniffed at… It was nothing in comparison to what a lot of my friends had saved. It wasn’t going to get me a car, get me through uni or contribute to a deposit on a house.
In modern times, I think it is much more important for children to save money from an early age. The world costs an awful lot now, it is much harder to get on the housing ladder or build a good credit rating, and as parents, you need to think about future proofing your child’s tomorrow. Trust funds no longer exist and the government no longer gives children a voucher to give them a good start in the art of saving money.
The best way to start is by opening a bank account, with a good rate of interest, for example, an ISA with Santander.
If you can fit it into your family budget – put in a certain amount, every month, from as young an age as possible. It doesn’t have to be loads – it will build up and when your child turns 18, they will be grateful of however much you manage to save for them.
At birthdays and Christmases, you can always ask relatives to put money straight into their ISA, instead of giving them the cash – this will also help them to save.
When your child reaches 13 and starts thinking about a part time job, encourage them to put a portion of their wages into their account each week, to help them save.
And most importantly – teach your children the value of money, and talk to them about the kind of things they might like to do with their savings when they turn 18, so that they spend it wisely, instead of wasting it.