Financial literacy is child’s play

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Providing children with the opportunity to set their own personal goals in the classroom can help lift their level of financial literacy as they grow, according to Kids at SWiTCH founder Jamie Lee. 

Lee - who runs an education program designed for primary school to early high school students - said children as young as nine form core behaviours around how money works based on the way their parents deal with finances. It’s at this stage they create their own 'money scripts’. 

She said breaking the cycle of these scripts and perpetuating good financial goal-setting habits requires more than teaching children the technical aspects of saving. 

As part of the program, students can apply for jobs based on their passions and when they complete tasks they are rewarded with play currency. They can either save this money and accumulate interest in the 'bank’ or use the money to purchase treats, toys or basic classroom necessities like chairs to sit on while in the classroom. 

Lee said the games teach children the value of a dollar and the basics of passive investment. 

According to Lee, one of the reasons there is a lack of Australians currently actively seeking financial advice is that planners are good at collecting information from clients but are not necessarily strong at collecting their emotional data.  

Similarly, school teachers are good with the emotional aspects of educating but lack the technical knowledge in finance.  

“When we think about personal finance, the word 'personal’ is even more important than the finance part because we can’t tell people to change the way they act - we need to touch on their emotions first,” she said.

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