I’m a worrier. I hide it well.
I worry about my kids all the time. They don’t know it, of course, because I try to be mostly the fun mum that they’ve come to know, love and shake their heads in embarrassment at. One of the things that I worry about is money. Will they be able to get on the housing ladder? What will they do for a living? Will they have enough money to lead a nice life free of the stresses and strains that most of us know about? I know it’s probably out of my control and, no doubt, quite ridiculous to worry about such things, but I do.
When both of the children were born I opened a pension account for them, hoping that the wonders of compound interest will eventually work miracles with the small amount that I’ve been able to invest for them. Then there’s the Child Trust Fund, £250 from the government given at birth to invest until their 18th birthday. It’s quite sad that they have stopped giving this to newborns now but the couple of grand it will reap will go towards something worthwhile, I hope.
My husband and I are no longer together but every week he sees the kids and also gives them pocket money, £5 each. I don’t give them pocket because I pay for many, many things,some fun, some not but if I had extra left over I probably would. TMK Megan wrote about her and her first born’s attitude to pocket money – read about the negotiations here. A habit I have tried to instil in the kids, which is actually now working really well is this… Every amount of money they get they have to, without fail, put 50% of it in their savings account BUT the other 50% they can blow on absolutely anything they want. They don’t need to ask if they can spend it, they just can. They understand why I’ve asked them to save half of it but I can also see that they think that’s millions of years in the future and why bother? It’s not up for negotiation though, hopefully they’ll thank me for it.
The first born has just turned 10, she’s well beyond her years, very tech savvy and as such is always asking if she can borrow my debit card for iTunes or Amazon etc. Money will then change hands and she’ll use my card. Then the hints started to be dropped regarding getting her own debit card and as if by magic the tiny adverts kept appearing in my news feed about the new Osper card for children from the age of 8.
Osper is a debit card which is issued to the child but the parent has FULL control over. After the initial application a big orange letter arrives, addressed to the child, and inside is their new shiny card with their name on and instructions of how to proceed. Next stage, download the app, then both parent and child have to follow the signup procedure, both choosing their own login details but to the same account. The app is VERY user friendly and has the ability to let me load her card in a matter of seconds from my own account (she, in no way, can access my card from this account), I can see what she’s been spending, when and where and I can also send a link to her dad or grandparents, for example, to also download the app to enable them to load her card whenever the choose. I also have the choice to set up an allowance on a regular basis.
When the card arrived Scarlett was beaming and was so very excited to go through the sign up process and receive the first wad of cash into her account (She handed over the cash first!), we then took a stroll into the village to the cash machine to change her pin and to talk her through how to use it. It’s something I didn’t even think about, we’re all so used to these things but to her it was one of her rites of passage, all part of growing up in this generation and one that I was really pleased to witness and teach. Simple things eh?
Empowering young people to make their own financial decisions, maintaining a budget and learning some essential life skills, well, I’m all for. Click the link to order yours and when you first load onto your card you’ll get a cheeky fiver to spend as you wish, or at least your kid will on their new card!
Think big and reach for the stars!