As a child, Deepali Sen, a certified financial planner and founder of Srujan Financial Advisors LLP, was never part of money or personal financial discussions at home. She made it a point to not repeat that with her son.
When her son Aaryan was only three years old, Deepali introduced him to the concept of money. She gradually started telling him about the importance of money and the responsibility that it brings to those who have more towards those who are less fortunate. As he grew older, she went on to tell him about the nuances of needs and wants.
Deepali said that instead of teaching Aaryan just the investing aspects of money, which could largely be mathematical, she started giving him money lessons through day-to-day examples like why some people might have more money than others or what is a loan and why people might need a loan.
Read: How should you plan for your child’s future
“I have focussed on the aspect that money is a limited resource for most of us. Also, I have taught him things like the role of banks, what is inflation and how it affects our money and what is the role of taxes in our lives," said Deepali.
Aaryan got it clear very early in his life that people who have more money or are prosperous have the responsibility to help the less fortunate or those who have been victims of natural calamities like earthquakes or a tsunami. “This set the background of differentiating between a loan and a donation. He now realises that the money we earn is not his entitlement and that he needs to prioritise between his needs and wants. And, that if people don't care for their money enough, they may soon have less of it, when really needed," she said.
Read: Treading the saving path early on
Aaryan, now 17, is a class 11 student and aspires to be a professional cricketer. He spends about 4-5 hours a day practising cricket. “I have a sense of how to manage, treat and spend money that I get from my mother. What I need the money for, the places that I need to spend is quite clear to me. With that, I have a rough idea of how much money I need on a day-to-day basis. For instance, if I am playing a match some day, I would need more, if I am going for practice, I will need less. I know where I spend more and where I spend less," he said.
Read: Having the patience to let savings match with goals
Aaryan now also tries to put aside some amount from the money that he gets. He calls it a back-up or emergency amount, which he uses for larger spends he has planned or in case he runs out of cash. This helps sometimes because there is no fixed pocket money that he gets. “I ask for and get the money whenever I need it. If I run out of money, I ask for it. Mom trusts me with money and I do not spend unnecessarily," he said.
Deepali strongly believes that curiosities of children like why some people have more money than others, or the aspect of dignity of labour also needs to be imbibed by children as part of money lessons.