How to teach your children 'saving is cool'

  • Explain why people are financially ill-prepared
  • Identify ways to help children understand money better
  • Identify ways to teach children about savings

Consider it a gift

According to Willis Owen, 2020's Christmas stockings saw something a little bit different to clementines, Lego and whatever awful-looking popular toy was on the wish list last year. 

In fact, Adrian Lowcock, head of personal investing for Willis Owen, said the "novelty" of many presents wears off too soon, which is why a financial gift is likely to be "more enduring and worth much more in the future".

Some of the most popular gifts for children that help teach them the value of money and get them used to understanding how investments works include collectable coins, such as the ones from The Royal Mint.

This year, for the princely sum of £1,125 you can get a solid 22ct gold 50p coin, engraved with Christopher Robin, for example. 

Mr Lowcock said while these can provide a "combination of a valuable investment, while giving something to appreciate and admire", it is important to "do your homework about what might be a good collectable to buy for the long-term".

Of course, one should also impress it upon a child that a £20 silver-mint collectable coin probably should not be spent down the local Asda.

Discuss the long-term goals

For many people - not just young ones - thinking long-term is almost impossible, with big-ticket items such as a property purchase, a wedding or a pension just seeming to be too far away to think about now.

If you are nine years old, you'll be more concerned about getting the latest skin for Fortnite than working out whether you will have enough to retire on.

But as Will Raine of financial education website Blue Tree Savings points out, it is important to help children understand how money can be put to work and to grow. 

He explains: "Get kids to think of money like seeds. Their goal is to grow their own financial forest. Every time they save, they are planting one of their seeds. As they are learning about trees at school, they’ll want to protect their forest."

This is similar to the thinking behind Robert Gardner's children's book 'Save Your Acorns', a parable for the modern day in learning the importance of saving, compound interest and philanthropy. As the book says, the young squirrels "learn the importance of saving, how to share and what happens when you plant your acorns".

Speaking with FTAdviser for a podcast on forming good money habits, Mr Gardner, who is director for investments at St James's Place, says: "There are three things I teach young people about long-term wealth creation - you need to earn it, you need to keep it, and you need to grow it."