Okay, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, my mother only liked ice cream; but according to an official advice center funded by the UK government, it’s time to blame the parents for bad money habits. In fairness, my situation is different because I can only blame my serial shopper mother, as my father is the one who had his head screwed on. According to the Money Advice Service (MAS), data they possess from a Cambridge University study shows that most people learn how to handle money by the age of seven. Perhaps that’s why there are so many obese people in the UK, but can they all be buying sweets?
On a Serious Note – Not even a Fifty
The study does demonstrate how money habits and certain behaviour patterns are instilled in the psyche of children at a very young age. We then carry these patterns of behaviour with us through into adulthood; so remember to use that one next time you need to borrow money from your parents to pay your bills. What’s concerning is the route the MAS has gone down to combat this problem. The MAS intends to establish a learning resource for parents and children that will show primary aged students how to handle money.
Perhaps it’s a problem that our government picked up the habit of funding pointless initiatives many years ago and like judges at the X-Factor auditions, they are suckers for a story. If we are learning bad habits from our parents when we are young, spending a few-hundred million printing leaflets and taking up the spare time of overstretched school employees is hardly going to break the habits we learn at home. Unless of course, we learn those habits because we really don’t understand the mechanics that go on behind the scenes as children. We don’t see the bills being paid or read late payment reminders that come through the door.
Follow the Government Lead on Money Adivce
It would be nice if the government were in any positions to preach, but at least they seem to have one thing right when it comes to funding the MAS. The source of MAS’ funds is a levy against the activities of financial firms. So in effect, the banks and lenders that are demanding money from us are paying to teach our kids that debt is bad. Perhaps we should cut out the middle-men and reduce the cost of borrowing if we all promise to let our children open up our bank statements and to pay our bills online.
It’s all One Great Plan
Apparently, the study showed that planning ahead is a critical feature of money management. It’s not clear from the report just how many boffins from one of the world’s most prestigious universities it took to come up with that pearl of wisdom; but I’m definitely going to take more of an interest in the state of my son’s piggy bank next when he asks me for another top up on his phone. Perhaps we’ve all just missed the point for the last twenty or so years and had been given good money advice to plan ahead then, we would be fine now and Greece, Italy and Spain would not be battling Cyprus for the title of most irresponsible borrower.
Some people naturally take to money management or so it would seem, then there are the rest of us who save our lunch money and go hungry through the week in order to have a great weekend. Maybe the study was right on some points then because it would seem learning to go without then had not affected my ability to avoid that situation now. Alas, we live and learn…or do we?