How 9 year old Tristan went from ‘can I have’ to ‘I’m not spending that much!’
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin
We couldn’t agree more Mr Franklin, the act of involvement is the difference between knowing about something and actually understanding it. At Osper we whole heartedly, unashamedly believe in learning by doing. I mean let’s face it you can’t learn how to drive without getting into the drivers seat, so why should learning about managing money be any different? Especially when you consider that according the Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg):
The age of seven is key to developing the skills for a bright financial future – leave it later and children could struggle to pick up good habits as adults.
Now I know a lot of parents think that giving a child (who hasn’t even graced double figures yet) a debit card is far to early, but my argument is: surely learning has no age?
Before we launch into the lovely story below, let me introduce myself, I’m Sabina and I work at Osper as the Community Lead (I’m charged with making sure our members have a voice, that is heard on a regular basis). I wanted to write this post to offer up a different perspective, to show parents that age doesn’t have to be a prohibiting factor when it comes to teaching children an essential life skill.
I while ago I had the pleasure of talking to Osper dad, Scott, he told me about his son Tristan….
This is Tristan (the one in the middle, Scott is the one on the right), he’s 9 years old and has had an Osper account for just under a year. Before Osper pocket money was rather sporadic. Dad Scott explains “Birthdays and Christmas money was kept in a locked box, but was forever at risk from being “borrowed” if cash was needed quickly. To be honest half of the time the money didn’t make it back to the locked box”. As a result Tristan had a pretty indifferent attitude towards money. According to Scott Tristan had little concept of how far money could stretch or the value of items.
Tristan was excited about getting an Osper card and having his very own app on his iPad. Having his own secret PIN, (which he now religiously hides when making a purchase) and personal card was really rather empowering for Tristan.
And so began the journey to financial independence…
One time explains Scott “Tristan spent the majority of his savings on the
latest Disney infinity figures and although he was happy with his
purchases, once he realised that his balance had diminished, he was
clearly disappointed. So he started to work out how many weeks it would take him to get back to a decent balance.”
In my view this was a HUGE! first step to understanding money management. – Scott
As young adults Scott and his wife were “useless” with money. Debt became a familiar friend far too early and managing personal finances became a big challenge.
According to Scott, Tristan very much enjoys the concept of saving now. He buys his own Christmas & Mother’s Day presents and isn’t tempted to spend all of his money, even on an item he really wants.
Scott said “He asked if he could have the Simpsons Lego House, which retails for £180 for Christmas (unfortunately it was too late as he’d already asked Santa for something else) so we suggested that he save his pocket money and buy it himself. We calculated that it would only take a couple of months and he would have enough to do so. Well, Tristan wasn’t having any of that… he said ‘I do really want it, but I’m not going to spend that much of my own money on it’.
This to me was a clear example of a mere 9 year old understanding the value of something.” – Scott
I asked Scott what advice he would give to parents who are hesitant to give their children financial independence. In his words…
I see Osper as a powerful tool to encourage financial discipline. As parents, we can use the itemised in-app statements to not only keep a watchful eye over our kids spending, but also help guide them to making better choices with their savings.
Scott, we couldn’t agree more. If you have a story you would like to share contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you and your family are ready to embrace financial responsibility and independence, join us www.osper.com