Egg-cep­tional way to value money


HAN­DLING phys­i­cal money is crit­i­cal to teach­ing kids about how to get a good grip on their fi­nances.

The con­tin­ual shift in Aus­tralians us­ing less cash has made it far more dif­fi­cult for chil­dren to un­der­stand its im­por­tance.

Brothers Ted, 5, and Ge­orge, 3, earn cash by sell­ing eggs laid from their own chooks each week.

Reap­ing $3 for half a dozen eggs and $5 for one dozen, they then divvy up their cash earn­ings so it doesn’t all end up in one bas­ket.

Their fa­ther, Na­tional Aus­tralia Bank gen­eral man­ager (SA/NT) Gregg Har­ris, said teach­ing his chil­dren about how to make a liv­ing had helped them un­der­stand that they must work to earn money.

“With money be­ing so dig­i­tal you can’t ac­tu­ally see it and touch it, and that makes it a lot eas­ier to spend,” he said.

“Un­like where you tap a card, they have to de­cide whether the money is go­ing out of their hand when they go to the toy shop.”

The move to­wards dig­i­tal spend­ing has re­sulted in chil­dren not see­ing phys­i­cal cash ex­change hands as more peo­ple switch to pay­ing by card or phone.

This has made it tougher for chil­dren to un­der­stand the true value of things.

Mr Har­ris said a com­bi­na­tion of chil­dren hav­ing a piggy bank, us­ing phys­i­cal money and rolling up their sleeves and do­ing some hard work could help teach them about the cost of goods and ser­vices.

ASIC Moneysmart’s se­nior ex­ec­u­tive leader, Laura Hig­gins, en­cour­aged par­ents to en­gage with their kids about money.

“Have con­ver­sa­tions with them and ex­plain how things get moved around elec­tron­i­cally,” she said.

“It’s im­por­tant to have that real cash con­ver­sa­tion and ex­plain what vir­tual cash looks like.”

Ms Hig­gins said the con­cept of pocket money was also crit­i­cal.

“They should recog­nise coins and un­der­stand how the world of money works, and part of that un­der­stand­ing is about cash,” she said. “It’s im­por­tant they un­der­stand their par­ents are work­ing to earn money that puts a roof over their head and puts clothes on their back.”

‘They have to make a de­ci­sion on whether the money is go­ing out of their hand when they go to the toy shop’ Fa­ther and banker Gregg Har­ris

Pic­ture: Bianca De Marchi

HARD-EARNED: Brothers Ted and Ge­orge have set up a stall sell­ing eggs, which helps them un­der­stand that they must work to earn money.

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