My children do not want to learn personal finance because they think that they can learn something so practical only when they can apply it in their day to day life.
This is not possible until they start handling money by themselves. They feel that even if we tell them they can handle money, we always have a say in where they are spending that money.
Are we as parents prepared to let them handle money on their own?
When I started a financial literacy school, there were a lot of parents suggesting that I must teach kids about handling money.
It was a no-brainer at that time as I thought it was a great idea and began conducting experiments inhouse. To spice things up or to get some buy-in, we told our kids that assuming that they earn 5k every month, they can choose to spend the money wherever they want.
One was meticulous in planning and never really spent any money. He would always weigh the pros and cons and say, "No, I don't need this now."
The other one was constantly looking around for things he wanted badly and always chose big ticket purchases and would find himself in debt for the rest of the month or even the next few months.
Both of them made their own choices but still felt we as parents had a say as they were not yet earning anything.
That's when we realized that we were far from making them independent and they were obviously not enjoying the partial independence.
We learnt our parenting lesson that showing rather than telling makes more sense.
Now, let's come to the point of whether we need to teach kids about money as they now know addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Kids these days are very busy and they don't have the time to learn one more thing from us parents or educators. They are biased towards experiential learning and till they continue to live with us i.e, say their 12th grade, they are going to make fewer money decisions on their own.
Just like other things, I feel that they will get to handle money when the time comes and most of them would have developed some of the skills as they would have seen you handle money. Either they learn and accept that it is a good thing to do or they know that it is not the way they want to handle money - they learn from you and your mistakes and this is where as parents we need to show rather than tell them how to handle money.
The responsibility is on us but if there is friction then the way the child shapes up will be based on the environment he or she is exposed to.
The right time to talk about money is when you have enrolled them into a college and they are now going to live on their own. You have to trust that they will handle their money better and will develop their own systems based on trial and error.
I am writing this article with one thing in mind. There are some things that can be taught in school and by all of us. But a few things like money have to be experienced and learning from our own experience is something that cannot be replaced.
The other thing is why do we want to teach everything we know and give our children a pre-decided plate that has a bit of everything. The child will find it boring and would want to learn things on their own.
The question still remains as I find most people saying that I wish I knew about finances when I was in my 20s, I would have handled it better. If you had access to that information, would you really want to learn it in your 20s or would you rather experience it for yourself?