Childhood innocence is all very touching but not when it comes to money. Halifax has just surveyed a group of eight to 15 year olds about money with frankly depressing results. According to those interviewed, a loaf of bread costs £15 and an average car, £67,000.
They also thought a teacher earns £110,000 and the Prime Minister, £3 million. Possibly the most depressing answer was that those surveyed thought they would retire at 56. Sadly, it seems more likely that they will have to work until their mid-seventies. Still, it’s a bit harsh to spoil every childhood fantasy.
A good parent would, of course, have started teaching a child about budgeting and money from an early age. Not me, sadly. I know I should take junior to the supermarket so he can see how much everything costs. But to be honest, when he was little it was too much of a hassle and I spent ridiculous amounts on comics and the like to keep him happy. Now he’s older, it’s just too boring for him to contemplate. So, while I don’t think he assumes bread costs £15 I doubt he has any idea of the real cost of things. And it’s my fault.
He does have a savings account, but not one that I let him access. So, given that he is 12, I think it’s probably time he had his own bank account and cash card. According to Money Saving Expert – see here – the top kids’ accounts are TSB Under 19 paying 2.5% on balances and Santander Mini 123 paying between 1-3% depending on how much you have. We can’t do TSB as there’s no branch near us. And we can’t have Santander because I have to have an account with them too. There’s the Lloyds Under 19 account – 1.5% credit interest and with a debit card which may be what we opt for. I’m thinking of putting about £20 a month in it to start, though if he looks after it sensibly (not that he can go overdrawn, but he could easily splurge all the money on Xbox cards or whatever) I might up that. It’s a small step on the path to understanding budgeting and finance.
See our guide to teaching kids about money here