When I was a child, we had a weekly banking day at school, and we’d take along a small deposit for our savings account at the local town bank. It wasn’t a large deposit—usually somewhere along the lines of 20 or 50 cents, but it was surprising how much our bank accounts grew. It was a great lesson in saving, and one I took with me into adulthood. When I started my first job, I saved part of my wages each week as well—a good decision as it happens, since I returned to “school” and trained in accountancy, paying my own way for two years before getting a job again.
These days, I’m constantly surprised by the way people live from week to week and spend their entire wage. When I worked at McDonald’s and did the wages, the mainly young crew were always short of money, blowing their wages well before it was pay day again. My sister-in-law paid the wages for an older workforce and they behaved in much the same manner.
My twenty-four-year-old nephew spends all his money, usually because of a huge phone bill and socializing. The only reason he saves any money is because he still lives at home and his mother takes part of his wages and banks it. He can’t withdraw the money without his mother’s signature.
From my observations, the lack of saving for the future happens outside of New Zealand too. I think it’s important to save a little, either to cover emergency expenses that hit us all at times or for a special treat for the family such as a holiday or a new gadget. Does this make me an old fuddy-duddy, because most youngsters don’t seem to care and expect their parents to fix the problem?
Quite frankly, I think there is a point where we, as parents, need to step back and let our kids stand or fall on their own, and this includes the arena of personal responsibility with money. Maybe some of these firms who lend money or offer interest free loans to purchase consumer goods should also have to back off a bit instead of making the lending process so easy. Maybe instead of giving loans for one hundred percent of a consumer item, the purchaser should have to come up with a larger deposit.
What do you think about saving? How to you teach your children to value money and save for a rainy day?