Being successful in business is as much about closely managing your finances as it is about coming up with the right product or service. For some it comes naturally, but for others it can prove to be the hardest part of running a company.
In a way, that’s not particularly surprising. As children, we didn’t have ‘managing your money’ alongside maths and English on the curriculum. Most of us found ourselves out in the big, wide world with no real clue (or interest!) in saving or building a nest egg.
Here are some ways in which we can instil good financial behaviours in our children, whatever their age. And perhaps remind ourselves of some good financial practices while we’re at it.
1. The value of saving
The sooner you start to teach your children how to save, the better. Rather than succumbing to the temptation of buying them the latest bike, or console, encourage them to save up for it. Setting financial goals at a young age can help instil a sense of achievement and financial purpose.
2. Learn the value of working for your money
Whether it’s employed or entrepreneurial, participating in some kind of work teaches us all many lessons and skills. Not least, it teaches us about the value of money and the effort required to earn it, and helps us appreciate the things that are sacrificed to go to work in the first place.
3. The seriousness of credit
The sooner your children understand the impact of credit, the better. Many people think credit is ‘free money’, using up their overdraft or taking out a loan or a credit card. As a result, young people can find themselves unable to get on the property ladder because they are already over-committed to debt. The lesson is to live within your means, and only use credit once you fully understand how it might affect your finances and lifestyle.
4. Understanding financial products
ISAs, loans, insurance – these are all terms children will come across later in life. Anything you don’t fully understand can seem daunting at first, but teaching children about basic financial products will help them see how simple they are. For example an ISA, or Individual Savings Account, is simply an account that allows you to earn interest on cash or shares free of tax, and a loan is just an amount of money that you borrow, often from a bank, which must eventually be paid back with interest.
Insurance is also important. Most people accept the necessity of car and home insurance, but they’re reluctant when it comes to life insurance. However, the principle is the same; the insurance is there to protect your family in case something happens to you.
5. The difference between cash savings and investments
It’s important to know the difference, and to be able to sensibly embrace both for longer-term financial planning. If you keep your money in e.g. a bank savings account it will be ‘safe’ (to the extent that you will not lose the money you have deposited*), but it will barely grow, especially whilst interest rates are low. On the other hand, if you invest it – for example in the stock market – it has the potential to ‘earn’ much more, but you can also lose some or all of what you have invested. It is not all or nothing however; you can take different degrees of investment risk, so understanding what is involved and what the outcomes may be is vital.
6. Retirement planning
It seems counter-intuitive to talk to youngsters about retirement, as it may seem a long way off. But the sooner you start planning for it, the easier it is to achieve. Most people think retirement planning is all about pensions, which have had a lot of bad press. But, that’s not a good enough reason to ignore them, especially when you consider the tax advantages. Besides, there are many ways to plan for the future – investing in a property ranks highly among them.
You may not consider yourself a financial guru, but these few simple steps can really help you, and your family, prepare for the future. If you would like to discuss your financial planning, then please get in touch, firstname.lastname@example.org.
*subject to the limits under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme in the event that the firm is unable to meet its liabilities. See www.fscs.org.uk.
Please remember any views or facts expressed above are based on information received from a variety of sources which we believe to be reliable, but are not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness. Any expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice. None of the information should be regarded as advice. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. Investing involves risk and the value of investments and the income from them may fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the original amount invested. Any tax treatment is dependent upon individual client circumstances and may be subject to change.