You don’t wake up one day and your ageing 48 year old body has found renewed life and you’re looking like a ripped 22 year old windsurfer.

The same will be true of teaching children ‘financial fitness’. Without starting young, guidance and plenty of practice, they are just not going to wake up one day being financially literate.

So here’s the reality, if you think your child’s school is addressing this subject then you are mistaken. Not much has changed from what you and I learned about finances and running a business and what our youngsters are learning at school today.

So where are they expected to obtain these vital skills?

It takes certain shocking stories to bring us back to reality. The challenges in education and corruption are prime examples of this. A corruption story breaks in the media, and suddenly we wake from our subconscious haze to face another challenge in remaining positive. We may get angry and then it subsides until the next story. The same is true of education. We hear more and more stories about the challenges teachers constantly face in our classrooms. These stories worry us for a period of time and then they dissipate.

We may think, “I’m sure my child’s education is satisfactory, their school is preparing them for the real-world”. But is this reality?

Most people leaving school are not prepared to handle money. The majority of children will not have the basic financial knowledge let alone understanding of how to invest wisely or even start and run a business.

A survey published by VISA in the United States reveals the following:

  • 85% totally agree that ‘young adults today lack the basic skills to successfully manage their finances’.
  • 91% believe young people learn the most about finances from ‘the school of hard knocks’.
  • Only 2% of young adults are ‘well prepared’ to manage their personal financial responsibilities.
  • 99% totally agree that ‘it’s important to teach high school students good money management skills before they leave home’.

As parents we need to be genuinely concerned about a children’s financial literacy

Based on statistics, your little loved one will require your guidance to create financial discipline. We are not taught these vital skills at school, Technikon or University.

Children who are mentored about money at the right age will have a greater chance of avoiding financial challenges in later life.

If parents are given the tools to help their children understand these vital skills, what possible better teacher could there be? There is no better teacher.

This rewarding journey of helping our children on a path of self-sufficiency and financial freedom could be fun and rewarding; where parents become ‘partners’ as opposed to teachers, where parents communicate on a deeper level may well successfully assist children face the harsh realities of life after school.

If parents don’t help, then who will?

Greg Bunyard