Early childhood financial literacy

Early childhood financial literacy
Published: 02 August 2017
THE best way to grasp a concept is when one is young. Children have the ability to throttle concepts better than adults. It is in the best interest of society to catch the children young and incalculate a sense of financial understanding to increase financial well being.

Introduce the piggy bank concept. From their allowances let them set aside little monies to cater for their emergencies then they appreciate the power of savings. Let them save for their toys and other items they need for it to be applicable.

Bank accounts
Formalise their thinking and let them operate their own bank accounts when they graduate from piggy banks. Banking is key to their adult life thus need to introduce it early for easy comprehension.

Profit and loss account
Introduce this concept that explains that one needs to know what they are earning and spending on a daily basis. This will make sure they don't spend more than what they are given or earning to avoid debts overhang or use other means to support their over expenditure. It's the gateway to knowing where your money is coming from and where it is going for any future remedial action therefore.

Balance sheet
They need to know their worth in life as an individual and what they need to build on their persona that will aide a great financial well being. Advise on personal capacity building as a way to earning a good life in future.

Insurance and assurance
It is crucial to manage risks and safeguard lives or incomes thus use the applicable insurance concept. Take them through the easier principles and gradually feed them sophisticated stuff so that they understand this misunderstood concept but vital in life in general.

Asset and liabilities
The art of understanding what an asset and liability mean. Give them their art of accumulation of assets. If they save they need to get their assets which help them have a better life. Let them have an appreciation of the difference between the two and how and when they are acquired.

Book keeping and record keeping
The essence of keeping records on what they do. The idea is to keep everything in black and white to better understand what they do on a day to day basis as trying to recall everything they do could be difficult. These are basic skills to be encouraged because life is mathematical anyways.

Earn a living
An honest living is derived from the fact that you have to earn it. Nothing is free but one has to earn it including trust. Freebies are not the way to go.

Acquire a skill to earn a living through careful learning, patience and waiting your turn all will fall into place.

Giving back to community
Let children donate their free time to worthy causes in community. It creates a mentality of being a socially responsible individual that is empathetic to the less fortunate and be a caring individual with emotional intelligence to create a better community. They just have to volunteer in one aspect or another.

Instill value systems to create a culture of upholding good ethos and cultivate ethos that increases building integrity at that level. It will increase accountability, responsibility that they will carry in their adult life. The world over needs three things integrity, integrity and integrity but unfortunately no textbooks nor school can teach this vital course. The world is no longer a better place due to lack of integrity. The way to cultivate it is making it into children's DNA before their minds are polluted.

Culture of reading
Foster a culture of reading (healthy literature) most importantly mind building literature and avoiding television watching to maximise on their time. A knowledgeable mind is fertile ground for future growth.

Hard work
Encourage hard work as it instills discipline in children. Whether it's working hard or smarter they need to appreciate work as a way of life and that nothing comes when you sit and be lazy. A great life is as a result of hard work.

Uses of money
Money is a very special tool in life .The need to know its uses, store of value, as a medium of exchange to be discussed. The downside of being slaves to money explained in a tangible manner that gives significance to ups and downs of money.

Enjoying what you do
The art of living is to enjoy what you do. If not then stop doing it even if it's rewarding them handsomely. It prevents breeding mercenaries and avoids frustrations especially with their future careers.

Idea generation
Let children run wild on ideas. Encourage them to learn, think and grow when it comes to ideas. They have to generate as much and put it on paper for referencing. The more they generate the more chances of getting a winning idea that will give them a financially sound life.

Embracing ICT
Let them go crazy with innovations in ICT. Children are geniuses give them time to explore with technology and you will be amazed at their abilities. Let ICT be put to good use only.

God father/mother
Where possible give them a role model to socially groom them. As they grow older a mentor to take them through business life and then an advisor to take them through the rigours of the financial jungle.

Rewarding good culture
Reward good traits and punish wayward financial behaviors that way they know consequences of their actions. To every action there is an equal reaction.

Time keeping
They have to keep time. Know when breakfast, lunch or dinner is served and be punctual at all times. Be able to budget their time when given responsibility.

Maths literacy
Encourage them to love maths. Live, eat and breathe maths or applied maths as it is universal language on all matters of life. Urge a basic grasp of numbers and interpretations. Above all they should learn their mother language as it increases Ubuntu/Hunhu and that is character building. It also aides in interpretation of financial freedom to local communities through their local common lingua franca. As they say catch them young and when they get older the job to train them further becomes easier.

Above all give both genders equal opportunities and encourage them to equally appreciate and respect each other in the grand scheme of things.


Morris Mpala is the managing director of MoB Capital Limited, a Bulawayo headquartered micro-finance institution with footprint across the country.
- chronicle
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