5 money basics to teach your kids during their high school years

money basics for kids
If you’re anything like the majority of Australian adults you were probably taught that money wasn’t something that ‘polite’ people talked about. But we do need to talk about it and, more importantly, we need to teach our kids about it while they’re at school, before bad habits have the chance to take root. But what, exactly, should you be teaching them?

WORDS: Michelle Bowes, author of Money Queens and mum of three.

Saving is a life skill

It might not seem that important when they’re young and the amounts of money they have are small but neither of these things will always be true! If they learn the discipline of saving – both for things they want to buy and just to have some money behind them – before they hit 18, they’ll have a good foundation for managing their money as an adult.

Money is not gender equal

I’m talking about the gender pay gap (13.8%), the gender retirement gap (23.4%) and the fact that double the number of women than men are victims of financial abuse (15.7% v 7.1%). Tell your daughters, tell your sons. The biggest thing we can all do to help drive change in these areas is to talk about them.

Credit is not their friend

Credit can be helpful, and for most people it’s necessary for life’s bigger expenses, like paying for university, and purchases, like buying a home. But unless it has the potential to grow their wealth, teach your kids that debt is bad. Buy now pay later may have replaced plastic as the credit of choice for younger generations but regardless of the credit product, small debts always have the potential to snowball into big problems.


Budgeting is the bomb

A budget is really just a plan for your money, and when it comes to money management the old adage that ‘planning prevents poor performance’ rings true. Like saving, the earlier they learn to budget, the more ingrained it will become. So, by teaching them to budget you’ll be giving them a good money habit they can fall back on forever.

Money can create change

Today’s teens are a socially aware bunch, but they can feel powerless about their ability to influence society. Teach them that one way they can create change is through their money – where they shop, who they bank with, who they open a super account with, and how their super is invested. They can use these choices to support things they believe in, such as recycling, clean energy or gender equality, and avoid those they don’t, like modern slavery or fossil fuels.

…and 10 things they need to know about education costs beyond high school

1. Uni or vocational training isn’t free.

2. The government subsidises some of the cost of further study for Australian citizens and they can get a loan through the government’s Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) to pay for the rest.

3. Different degrees or courses cost different amounts depending on what they’re studying and, in some cases, where they’re studying.

4. If they fail more than 50% of their uni subject units in a year, they’ll be at risk of no longer qualifying for a HELP loan.

5. They’ll have to start paying back their HELP loans when they’re in the workforce and earning above a certain amount of money.

6. Even if they don’t graduate, they’ll still have to pay for any courses, or parts of courses, they study.

7. If they move overseas after graduating, they’ll still have to pay their HELP loans back.

8. There’s a lifetime limit to how much they can borrow for under the HELP loan program.

9. On top of course costs, there’ll be other costs like books, equipment, technology and some fees.

10. Beyond high school, the Bank of Mum and Dad may no longer be as willing to provide financial support. If they didn’t have one while at high school, this is the time to get a part-time job!

For more on how to help your kids help themselves when it comes to money, look out for Money Queens in bookstores from July 12:




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