From Toddlers to Teens How to Teach Your Kids About Money


Financial planner, Canna Campbell is on a mission to get kids excited about saving

Financial planner on SugarMammaTV, author of The $1,000 Project and Mindful Money, mum of one (with her second on the way), Canna Campbell is on a mission to establish financial freedom for Australian families.

After her own father taught her a valuable lesson, making her first investment at age 18 from the tips she’d saved from her bar job, Canna saw how you can set yourself up financially for life, after receiving her first dividend cheque, which triggered her interest in passive income.

Here she shares the most powerful money lessons you can teach your children, starting today.

Make teachings age appropriate

Canna recommends taking your child’s lead, though she says it’s never too early to start. At age 3, she familiarised her own son with money, understanding coins and notes through having a money box. By age 4, he was getting pocket money. And now, as a 5 year old, she’s taught him about the second hand economy and saving up for special purchases and experiences.

But the lessons aren’t just transactional, Canna says. For example, teaching quality over quantity and delayed gratification lessons, too. “I try to explain things from a variety of different perspectives. If a toy looks like it may fall apart, I leave him to consider if it is worth saving up for a little bit longer, to be able to buy a better made toy, even if it costs a little more. Recently, he had a bike with training wheels he’d outgrown, so we sold it on Gumtree. He was able to give the bike to the little boy that turned up to buy it, and he put the money straight into his money box.”

Invest and compound interest

“So often we talk about saving for your children, but that’s just one component – investing is the other,” Canna says, adding that it doesn’t have to be risky. “Showing a child how compounding interest works and investing in things that grow in capital and pay a passive income that can be reinvested overtime, are important lessons to pass on, which they will benefit from immensely as an adult.”

Canna recommends building a diversified investment portfolio for your child using the benefit of time, saying, “You can show a child how to have less financial stress in their lives.” Rocco has a small share portfolio, which I set up for him when he was born. When the time is right, I will show him how he can contribute to it and grow it for himself.

Manage money wisely

Canna says it’s important children learn by watchinghow we actually use money ourselves, and today that includes embracing a cashless society. “We need to teach our children the systems we have and how to manage money wisely, even when we don’t physically see it. I’m not discrediting the value of tangible money, but when we pay everything online or cash free, it’s setting our children up for confusion if their own money is about money boxes, coins and notes Canna advises.

Charity starts at home

Canna, whose $1,000 project has helped Australians save their way out of financial trouble towards their goals, actually gives her own passive income from her portfolio to charity each year. She says encouraging children to find their own way of giving to charity, whether a donation of their time, savings or skills, is an important lesson to learn.

Take a holistic approach to wealth

Defining your family’s own meaning of wealth andcommunicating that is a valuable exercise. For Canna,it’s a five-pronged approach – a balance between physical health, then intellectual, relationship, spiritualand financial wealth. “They’re never harmoniously insync with each other, but that’s the goal,” she says.

Have a ‘life happens’ account

There are periods of time when life happens and we get hit with a wave of bills or unexpected financial set back. Canna stresses the importance of having a life account and emergency money. As for knowing exactly how many funds are needed in it, this comes down to asking two questions: What is a realistic risk and what is the financial cost of that? Then save up that money and keep it in a separate savings account.

Set a common goal

If you’re looking for fun family ways to save, Canna suggests setting a family goal that savings go towards, like a weekend away or amusement park tickets. How your kids achieve this – whether through babysitting, bake stalls, mowing lawns, or returning bottles – is up to them, but you all work together. “Having goals can spur on motivation to change things, and the delayed gratification can make the experience even more enjoyable and valuable” she says.

Canna’s Top 3 Ways To Make Money Saving Rewarding And Fun

1. Have rewards along the way, both short term and long term, but focus the rewards around experiences. Such as saving up to go to a special concert together in a few months’ time or saving up for new sporting equipment.

2. Engage with your children along the way, keep reminding them to stay focused, communicate that you believe in them and help them stay motivated.

3. Lead by example as a parent in an open communicative manner so that they understand it’s everyone’s responsibility to be mindful with money.