Yes, in this part of the world it is time to reflect on things financial.
We’ve been doing things to induce some financial literacy in the Oh Waily kids for a while now, mostly around basic mathematics and learning about handling cash through pocket money. Along with this we have amongst our board game collection a couple of useful items for understanding the use and misuse of money. Admittedly the games are as much luck as they are strategy, but it does go some way to understanding decision making around money. The first is one of my very old games, Pay Day. This is a fairly simple game based around random bills that you get by landing on the Mail squares and investments you can buy or borrow money to buy when you land on Deals.
The other game, and currently Miss Oh Waily’s favourite, is Cashflow which seems to have had a bit of a spruce up into an application too. This one is another step along in financial literacy terms as it introduces the idea of assets, liabilities and a balance sheet. Here your goal is to get out of ‘the Rat race’. In a nice touch the counters are little ‘rats’ and your ultimate goal is marked by a ‘wedge of cheese’ counter. It is actually very cute. The serious side of this is understanding that not only do you earn money and pay bills, but you can accrue assets that generate income for you to live off as well. The goal being to earn more passive income than you have expenses – that means you get out of the rat race and can chase your dream piece of cheese.
Miss Oh often asks to play it, but because it can take quite some time to play (a couple of hours) I tend to say “no” more to that request than I say “yes”. This week though, we set it out and played the game. It involves quite a bit of work on my part at the moment, but I can see that with an increase in playing time and as she gets older, it will become possible for her to take more control over her own Balance Sheet. Right now she’s pretty content to be the ‘bankster’ (banker in Miss Oh-speak) dealing with some very large numbers.
I’m now also contemplating creating a home-made passbook for their pocket money boxes that they can fill in each month as they receive their money. I just need to put some more thought into how to do this so it’s an attractive and compelling addition to our financial literacy tools.
I’m sure there are plenty of other ideas to encourage an understanding about how money works, but I think at this age and stage we are covering all the basics plus a little bit extra. However, I am open to more ideas, so what do you do to encourage financial literacy with your kids?