Have you already financially screwed up your children?

child moneyI know we shouldn’t be encouraging you lot to breed, but if any of you do have kids, you’d better get them into the money saving habit early, or they are destined to be crap with their cash forever.

Current Government-oracle-of-the-month on all things financial, the Money Advice Service has released a new report that “highlights the power which parents and caregivers possess to shape the money habits of their children”. In simple terms, if you haven’t encouraged them save up their pocket money for something by age 7, you may as well give up now.

Authored by behaviour experts at Cambridge University, the report reveals ‘key findings’ about how and when core behaviours and habits are formed in young children, for example:

- by the age of seven most children have grasped how to recognise the value of money and to count it out; and by this age they will also have come to understand that money can be exchanged for goods, as well as what it means to earn money and what income is;
-  by the age of seven, most children in the UK are capable of complex functions such as planning ahead, delaying a decision until later and understanding that some choices are irreversible; but children under eight years old have not  developed an understanding of the difference between 'luxuries' and 'necessities'.

The report urges parents not to underestimate the effect their own money habits will have on their children. Clearly Bitterwallet readers' offspring will all have excellent money management skills, while all those bad parents with bad habits will end up with financially idiotic children. Not that they are thrusting their sticky beak in, but the Money Advice Service thinks “simple and playful parenting… is required in order for children to develop good money management skills, which are essential to help them become financially capable adults.” Hard cheese if you are not simple nor playful then.

Caroline Rookes, CEO of the Money Advice Service said, ominously:

"This study really demonstrates the power of parental influences, and illustrates how much of what you learn and absorb when you are young, both consciously and subconsciously, affects the choices you make throughout the rest of your life.

Co-author of the new study, Dr David Whitebread, of Cambridge University was similarly cheery, saying:

"The 'habits of mind'… including financial ones, are largely determined in the first few years of life,” and adding that “simply imparting information is now recognised as being ineffective in this area.”

As a result, the Money Advice service plans to create products and services for parents to use to help children understand money skills. Look out for their fun ‘financial education’ picture story book coming your way soon.


  • Maximus
    You would be a fool to tell them to put money in a bank. Buy physical gold for them and make sure they never touch the stock market.
  • Mustapha S.
    I used to be really good with money until I found hotukdeals
  • Captain.Cretin
    If I dont have any money left to save - how are the children going to get any?? I cant even afford to pay into my pension fund fright now; and this years holiday is THIS weekend - staying with friends near London.
  • Mr C.
    whats wrong with london?
  • Dr Z.
    It has an accumulation of Londoners.
  • Sicknote
    Er no, I have 9 tenants already paying my 3 son's mortgages off and in 11 years when my eldest son is 23 he'll have a mortgage free house. #BOOM #TENANTSPAYINGMYMORTGAGES
  • Kevin
    Nice to see someone saying it's the parents responsibility and not saying it's all the schools fault.
  • Old G.
    Well done Sicknote - give the little blighters it all on a plate so they don't work and expect everything for nothing.
  • Sicknote
    @Old Git Thanks man, I grew up in a children's home after being left at a bus stop by my mother at the age of 3.; I had fuck all growing up as a kid except for a second hand action man and a tonka toy truck. You're damn right my kids will be given it all; they'll all have mortgage free houses and new cars when they start driving. My family are a great team and we look after ourselves.
  • noshit
    You have to be a dickhead to get into the rentals market. Four people I work with have tried, all have lost everything. My cash gets spent, but on things that keep their value if possible. My VW camper is worth £5000 more than I paid for it ten years ago, and my kids have learnt vehicle maintenance through working on it with me. What's the point having 200k stuck in a house when you can let your kids experience the world and have an amazing time with that cash. Thatcher told us we all need to own our homes, well balls to the dead old cow spend it while you can!
  • ryouga
    Totally disagree with the article, kids know that money buys things young but never seem to grow out of the bank of mum and dad or the government. Easy to say its just students but when I have known many students to get 3-5 student accounts and the same amount of credit cards age 18 and shrug their shoulders and say they will pay it back when they are over 25 , then do things like pay £5 for a taxi for a 5 minute walk as its spitting with rain or its windy and they do not want to mess up their hair(this is MALE students) and I see students in catered accomodation wtih no bills and the rent paid for by parents whinge how they have £100 to last 2 days for drinking(have actually heard this and more than once) Not just students though, they just live above their means they are just lucky their parents bail them out.
  • gaybrain
    Well sicknote I have a million pounds and a space rocket WHOOOOOSH just off to join you in fantasy land. However if your 'three buy to let' story is true I bet you lose all the houses and your own before he is 23. The only way to make house rental work is to have a few hundred grand spare in the first place. None of your story makes any sense anyway. Check out the children of any wealthy person. Workshy layabouts the lot of them. There's a reason good parents instill a work ethic into their children rather than just chuck cash at them, new cars, what have you.

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