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On this Children’s Day, let’s take a vow to raise Money Savvy Kids. Teaching children early of the value of money makes a big difference to their lives ahead.
“Who was the first chairman of the State Bank of India”
“Which bank has a tick mark as its logo?
With these questions, the 6-year old Tanisha Choudhary tests her brother, Mukund’s knowledge. As her brother, 14 years, is busy packing bags for the semi-final round of a national level finance quiz, she answers, “John Mathai” and “Yes Bank”
Mukund Choudhary, receiving the third prize in the National Financial Literacy Test
Since 2012, Tanisha and Mukund have been hooked to watching Reserve Bank of India’s school level financial literacy quiz (RBI IQ) on television. “If we were to sit down and teach them about banking or money basics, they wouldn’t have paid attention,” says their mother, Renu, a cost accountant by education. Along with her husband who has a commerce education, Renu motivated her kids to watch and prepare for the quiz.
The kids got interested. They started discussing terms like compound interest, demand draft, cheque etc. To explain banking concepts, the couple would then take the kids to the bank. The National Stock Exchange’s quiz show on a business channel helped Mukund understand the history of stock markets. He knows that Indians first started trading under a banyan tree and that the Tulip mania of the 1960s was the first economic bubble in the history of trading.
The exam target paid off well in two ways. The 14 year old has reached the national level finals of the RBI IQ quiz, he got runners up title in NSE quiz and stood third in first ever online National Financial Literacy Assessment Test (NFLAT) conducted in January this year. He applies the finance basics in real life too. Instead of splurging his cash prize with friends, Mukund puts that money to better use. The last award money he got was put in the stock of a large IT company.
While the Choudhary family is in Raipur, the capital city of Chattisgarh, a similar story plays out in the Rastogi household in Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh.
Kushagra, fourth winner of NFLAT, looks at a trading screen with his mom, Leena
On some days when Kushagra Rastogi, 14 years old, packs his school bag, he has a list of instructions for his mom. No, it’s not about the dinner menu. It’s about the stocks to be bought and sold on that day because by the time Kushagara’s school bell rings for the day, it’s the closing bell time at the stock exchange also. The young boy’s interest isn’t in stock markets only.
As his father Sameer Rastogi tells us, Kushagra would often listen to the instructions he used to give to his broker and bank manager. The father, an Indian Forest Services official, would involve his son in checking if the Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) transaction had been done and would take him along for bank visits. He participated in the NFLAT exam which got him interested in understanding financial markets, and stood fourth.
Abhinav Agarwal, receiving the first prize in the National Financial Literacy Test
He has got several awards for academic excellence; the prize money went to his mother’s account. So he got himself a Permanent Account Number (PAN) and a savings account. The parents gave him the freedom to invest his cash prize money in stock markets. The next target for Kushagara is to clear the BSE International Financial Olympiad test and take up chartered accountancy as a profession.
Like Kushagra and Mukund, our country has thousands of, what I call ‘Money Savvy Kids’ who understand that Rs.100 kept in a drawer will only depreciate in value due to inflation. Some like 15 year old Abhinav Agarwal, who stood first in the NFLAT exam know that his cash prize of Rs.10000 will earn better returns in a bank’s recurring deposit account instead of a savings account.
Along with parents’ hand-holding, all these kids actively participate in the various quiz and contests around money that motivates them towards learning.
As I interacted with the parents of these money savvy kids, I got tips which I will put to use when my pre-schooler becomes a teenager.
It’s Never too late: You’ve never showed them the coins and rupees or taken them to a bank. That is fine. You can start discussing about money and banking at the dinner table too.
Make a target and motivate: Let them watch the money quiz and contest telecasts on television. Our regulators, banking entities and market bodies have been organizing such contests, online exams and quiz across various cities. These entities have websites dedicated to kids’ money games and other learning tools also.
You can motivate your kids with the amazing cash and other prizes that are doled out in these contests.
Involve your Teenager in your financial transactions: No, I don’t mean to say that you need to give them the keys of your bank locker. Let them be around when your planner or relationship manager comes. Ask them to keep your financial statements and insurance records in order.
Happy Parenting and Happy Children’s Day!
Child holding piggy bank image via Shutterstock; all other images courtesy interviewees
Rachna Monga Koppikar aka The Great Gruhini is a finance writer who’s worked with
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