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EPISODE 044 – Raising Money Smart Kids Takes a Village

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In today’s episode, Maya shares: 

  • Why it is important to teach our kids a balanced approach to money management.
  • Money is there for us to enjoy and bless others as long as we have taken care of our monetary obligations first
  • Money and finances should not be taboo. Even if we are not comfortable with finances, we can still help our children understand the importance of saving money, spending smartly, etc.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. The same is with finances; it takes a village to raise a money savvy child. Many of us womxn are mothers, grandmothers, aunts, etc and our children look up to us. We can raise awareness of financial literacy for younger generations. This will improve their quality of life, diminish inequality and help them become financially independent adults. You can listen now by tapping the podcast player at the top of this page, or continue scrolling to read the full transcription of this episode. You can find references and contact information for this contributor below!

Raising Money Smart Kids Takes a Village

Hello, my name is Maya Corbic, and I’m a chartered professional accountant and a passionate advocate of financial literacy. I have had an extensive career as a chief financial officer of a private school. And prior to that, I worked as a tax accountant, auditor and a bookkeeper. During my career in finance, tax and accounting fields, I met a lot of Canadians that were struggling with finances. Through my conversations with them, I realized that the main issue stems from the lack of proper financial literacy education during their early years. Many of them were not taught about money management by their parents or school, and they acquired some poor financial habits on their way to adulthood.

I’m also a mom of two kids and when my kids were little, I realized that I needed to become their primary source of financial education. This prompted me to start Dinarii Financial Education Academy, whose vision is to educate every child to become a financially independent adult. Our organization has webinars and workshops for parents that provide easy to use tools and techniques to teach kids money management. As teaching children financial literacy differs from family to family, we help parents create a unique framework on how to teach their child financial literacy, in line with their specific family values. We also teach kids to become money smart through in person and online workshops. However, today, I will be pivoting my teaching and shine the lens on something little different, which is that we can all make a difference in the lives of younger generations and raise money smart Canadians. If you’re listening to this podcast, you may not be a parent, maybe you’re a Canadian woman who is a grandmother or an aunt or a godmother. Perhaps there was a child in your life that you deeply care about, and you want the best for that child. Throughout this podcast, I will call this child a care child instead of a grandchild, God child or niece or nephew. This care child is a child for whose welfare and benefit you care. They can be as young as four years old or a teen. I believe that every child deserves to be financially literate despite their race and gender. Unfortunately, some children do not have an opportunity to learn about money because of their race or gender or family circumstances. We can all help children become money smart, we can make the change. They say it takes a village to raise a child, I believe is the same with finances. It takes a village to raise a money savvy child. 

Younger generations look up to us. They learn from us by listening to our advice or just simply mimicking our behavior. By teaching them financial literacy, we can improve their quality of life, diminish inequality, and help them become financially independent adults. November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada. This past November, I attended a CPA Online Mastering Money Conference. One of the presenters was a global financial literacy excellence center. They share their findings from the latest research on personal finance. In 2020, they conducted a survey where they asked participants a number of personal finance questions. Out of all male participants 56% of them answered the questions correctly. Whereas out of all female participants only 49% answered the questions correctly. It shows something that we have known for a long time, which is that women know less about money than men, and that many of them rely on men in their lives to make important financial decisions. Furthermore, women make less money than men. According to Statistics Canada research paper on the gender wage gap in Canada that was released in 2019. Women earned an average of $26.92 per hour in 2018, while their male counterparts earn $31.05. In other words, women earned $4.13 less per hour on average than men. This translates to 13.3% less than men. I have unfortunately witnessed the girls know less about money than boys. Several years ago, I was teaching my financial literacy workshops to a public school in Brampton, Ontario. This was a co-ed elementary school, but they were doing a pilot program where they had co-ed grade three classes, but also one all girls grade three class and one all boys grade three class. When I was teaching all boys, they were so excited and engaged right away. They had so many questions for me and collectively, they were more advanced in their financial literacy knowledge than another grade three co-ed class. When I taught the grade three girls class, I noticed right away that they knew far less than the boys. And the first five minutes of the class, they spent complimenting me on my hair, clothes and makeup. The girls were so sweet. But it made me sad that they knew less than the same age boys. I don’t want to generalize, but I want to share my experience with you.

I never had a chance to go back and teach those children again, because the program was discontinued and reassigned to co-ed classes. However, it always made me wonder if we as females know less about money because we’re genetically predisposed that way. Or could it be that we as parents, guardians and caregivers don’t talk to our girls about financial issues. I hope that by teaching girls about money, the girls can develop a good relationship with money, and that they can feel empowered to make financial decisions without deferring to men. Over the last few years, I have come across various research, which show financial knowledge gaps when it comes to racial and ethnic minorities. Some of these children rely on their parents to teach them about money. However, the problem is that no one has ever taught their parents how to manage money when they were growing up. So we have to come together and help teach the care child so they can become financially literate. You may wonder how you can possibly teach a care child about finances, some of you may not be comfortable talking about money, let alone teach about money. I’m here to tell you that you need to remember that you’re older and wiser. And you know more than the care child. You don’t need to teach the care child cryptocurrency or complex financial derivatives. But you can help them understand the importance of saving money, spending money, smartly, etc. If you’re a parent listening to this, you can definitely use these tips to teach your child the value of money. However, if you would like to create your own money teaching framework that is unique and specially designed for your family, you can watch the parent webinar on my website. Before you start contributing to the financial knowledge of a care child, it’s always good to run your intentions by parents and ask for their permission. So here are some things that you can do. 

When the care child is little you can teach them how to count money, and how different money denominations relate to each other. You can do some role playing and set up a store, you can take turns purchasing items from the store and give change. While playing store you can teach them the difference between needs and wants. I have been able to teach the kindergarten age group the difference between needs and wants. They understand that needs are the things that we need to survive, and that wants are the fun things that we want to have but are not needed for survival. The kindergartens are able to understand that we need to take care of our needs first before we can take care of our wants. Therefore, when you’re playing store, you can ask them questions like would you rather purchase the food or a toy and follow up with discussion. 

Another thing that you can do for your care child is to give them monetary gifts for special occasions such as birthdays or holidays. When giving these monetary gifts, you may send or give written instructions, asking the child to do something specific with that monetary gift. For example, you can ask the child to split the monetary gift into different categories such as spend, save, donate and invest. The amount saved can be put into a savings account towards a particular goal. Or it can be invested once the money in the savings account is of a sizable amount. Encourage the care child to save and talk about pay yourself first approach. You can explain to the care child that there is a right way of saving and the wrong way of saving. The wrong way of saving would be if they decided to spend the money that you gave them and save what’s leftover. Usually nothing is leftover because there are a lot of temptations that we can spend our money on. Instead, the proper way of saving is by paying yourself first by putting aside a certain portion of money right away into savings and not touching it. Then they can spend the remainder. You can explain to them that this method is called pain. yourself first because we pay ourselves by saving before we start spending and paying everybody else for the purchases that we make. If we can teach kids to employ this approach from a very young age, this can become a habit and they will continuously keep putting money into their savings account, which will add up to a nice, sizable amount. 

You can teach the care child to donate a portion of your monetary gift. Many people are surprised when I tell them that teaching kids to donate or give as part of financial literacy. It helps them understand that there’s someone out there that has it worse than they do. It teaches them to be grateful for everything that they have. One way to teach your child to give and be thankful is to create wonderful memories by volunteering together at a local food bank. This is a great opportunity to talk with a care child about what each of you is grateful for. There are other birthday or holiday gifts that can teach children financial literacy. An example would be a book that teaches about various financial literacy concepts. They are different books out there for different age groups. And if you’re looking for suggestions, you can check out my social media accounts as I frequently review different books and have interviews with authors. Other fun gifts for holidays or birthdays or board games such as monopoly or cash flow by Robert Kiyosaki the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad book. Those board games are so much fun, because they don’t only provide financial literacy lessons, but an opportunity to spend time together. 

Money talk should not be taboo. We should get comfortable talking freely about our money and experiences, whether good or bad with care children. This is how children learn. As humans, we love stories we learn from those stories. Recently, a dad told me that he maxed out his credit card when he was younger, and shared this experience with his twin daughters. He explained to them how difficult it was to repay that credit card and rebuild his credit over the years. He told me that he’s certain that this story of his experience has scared his daughters into using credit cards responsibly when they are old enough to have them.  It’s not just as important to talk about money as it is to share stories about financial fraud and identity theft. Did you know that in 2019, Canadians lost more than 96 million to account fraud. According to Canadian anti-fraud centre. This information was provided by CPA Canada’s 2020 fraud survey. Financial fraud is a lucrative industry. Trillions of dollars are lost to financial fraud annually on a global scale. Number one reason why this is a lucrative industry is because the victims are conned into giving lots of money. The victims feel embarrassed that they got conned and do not want to share what happened. However, RCMP states that we should be sharing these stories because this is how we learn from each other. And this is how others will not get caught in the same scheme. Children like listening to these stories and can learn a lot from them. We can also share with them how we did not get conned into giving our money away. Sometimes we may receive an email or a phone call. And we know right away, that is a fraud. So we delete the email or hang up. This is good. But the extra step that we can take is to explain to our care child how we knew this email, or the phone call was phony, not no pun intended. What tipped us off. You can also watch some funny YouTube videos by James Veitch, who talks about how he turned the tables on the financial fraudsters? It’s really funny I promise. 

Another thing that you can do is support your care child ‘s entrepreneurial endeavors, such as selling Girl Guide cookies, or their lemonade stand. Don’t just support them. By buying their products. You can teach them how to market their products, and how to attract customers. You can urge them to stand up straight and look at the potential customer in the eye and speak loud and clear while selling their goodies. Encourage them by telling them that you’re proud of them. They are taking the risk of putting themselves out there. I know that the next thing which I’m going to suggest is not for everyone, but you can think of it as a fun time to spend together. You can teach the care child to create a passive income by creating a product which can be sold online so they can have a continuous stream of passive income. You can explain to the care child that passive income is income that requires effort upfront to do something once, but get paid repeatedly in the future. This is something that you can explain to a teenager. Perhaps you can help them write a book, or take photos which can be posted on different websites such as Shutterstock or Shutterfly. These photos earn passive income, which is the percentage of the price that Shutterstock and Shutterfly sell them for the care child will learn that they don’t always have to exchange their time and effort for money, which is what we typically do at most jobs. Instead, that care child can learn that they can create something which will continue to give them a stream of passive income. Speaking of passive sources of income, if you have experience in investing, this is something that you can help your child understand. Unfortunately, investing is not taught in schools, you can give them a company stock as a birthday or holiday gift. And over time, you can monitor the performance of that stock together, you can talk about the company and what the stock represents. 

Another easy and fun activity to watch together is Shark Tank show on TV. You can have discussions about companies and entrepreneurs that are trying to get financing for their business ventures. You can ask the care child whether or not they would invest in that business, you can discuss how the sharks value the business and decide whether or not to invest in it. This will teach the child about investing in passive income. Additionally, while you’re watching Shark Tank, you may see some commercials, this is an opportunity to discuss the commercials with the care child. You can talk about the company, what the company’s marketing and how they’re doing it, you can discuss the following topics. Who is the commercial targeting? Is the advertisers claim about the product believable? What kind of techniques are being used to make the product more desirable to the viewers? Is the company using celebrities? Are they promising results that don’t seem realistic? Also ask the child if they would spend their money on that product. If they say yes, try to understand why all this can lead to very interesting discussions. 

If you’re a savvy coupon user, if your price matches, you can show the child how you do that and which apps you use. Sometimes a simple Google search for a coupon code for a particular store can save a lot of money when that code is applied upon checkout. If your price matches, show the child how to do that. A lot of time people think that price matching is going from store to store and trying to find the best deal for a particular item. That is not with price matching as I typically use the Flipp app, I have taught children how to use this app before I have explained to them that they can search for the item they’re trying to buy. For example, if it’s Lego that they want to buy, they can just type Lego in the app, they can see where the Lego is on sale, and they can go directly to that store to purchase the set. However, when something is on sale, it usually sells out fairly quickly. Therefore, instead the care child can go to a store that price matches such as Walmart or Toys R Us there, they can show the price matching app, and they will be able to purchase that same Lego set for the reduced price as shown on the app. 

Sometimes you may think that something is a grown up discussion, and should not be discussed with children. However, based on my experience, children can understand a lot of money concepts. I’ll give you an example. Recently I negotiated my cell phone plan with my cell phone provider, and I saved $475 annually. I was on a roll and after that I called my insurance provider and negotiated with them and ended up bundling my insurance which saved me almost $2,000 annually. I talked to my kids about this and I explained what I was doing and why I was doing it. I want them to know that the price can always be negotiated. Of course, these conversations are more appropriate for older children like teenagers. These are just some of my tips. They are many more ways of teaching kids financial literacy. I frequently post different tips on my social media so you can get some additional ideas there. Thank you for listening, and I wish you success in teaching your child how to be money savvy.

Would you like to connect with Maya online?  You can find her at www.dinarii.com , on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/teach.kids.money and Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/Educ8Money2Kids

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In gratitude,

The Great Canadian Woman inc.™ Team

Maya Corbic

Maya Corbic

Maya Corbic is a CPA, CA. In 2012 she founded DINARII Financial Education Academy whose vision is to educate every child to become a financially independent adult. Maya had an extensive career as a CFO of a private school, tax accountant and auditor. She is a happily married mother of two wonderful children.

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