Here are some key lessons you should be giving to set your grandchildren up for a successful relationship with their finances throughout their lives.
Eighty per cent of English women with grandchildren under 16 are providing childcare, according to a recent report from The Guardian. And we aren’t talking occasional babysitting shifts to give your children a night off. If you have grandkids you’re no doubt like my parents, who look after my young niece and nephew most weeks.
Though there’s often a lot of joy in spending more time with the little’uns, the extra hours also mean you’ve got a larger role to play in the education and development of the child. So much so that the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”, could probably be replaced in the UK with, “It takes grandparents to raise a child”. Forget spoiling them rotten—you’ve got work to do!
One of the big responsibilities you’ll be sharing with the parents is financial education. Research shows children form their money habits by the age of seven, meaning it’s important to put them on track at a young age.
Don’t spoil them (too much)
Yes, it’s so easy (and nice) to do, but constantly giving your grandchildren the things they want doesn’t help them long term.
Instead, gently making them realise they need to save for some things means they should keep that habit as they get older.
Set savings goals with them
Rather than saving for the sake of it, talk about something they’d like to save up for. Having a goal can help them think longer term and motivate them to put money away rather than spend it straight away on sweets (it’s always sweets).
Teach them to work hard for their money
When they’re a little older, get them to help out around your house and garden, and in return reward them with some money.
They’ll not only see the value in working and realise money doesn’t magically appear out of nowhere, they’ll also have to then consider how to spend or save the cash.
Help them spend to a set budget
If you’re on a day out, give them some money to spend for the day. They might need to cover their cinema ticket but then not have enough to buy both sweets and popcorn. It helps to show you can’t just get everything you want.
Lead by example
You’ll probably have had many moments in your life where times have been tight and you’ve had to make do or go without.
Though you might be more comfortable today, show that you’re able to fix things or make food go further rather than just buying something new. Maybe the kids will pick up a few tips too.