From home-schooling to home-financial education (multigenerational edition)
Entry 1: Raisin Communications Manager International, Maggie Bell
As our whole Raisin team moved to remote working and then simultaneous home-schooling back in March, I wondered if some of us parents might find ourselves doing not just general education but also financial education. I’ve dealt with the subject of financial education at work and have been struck by how many people, when surveyed, say they didn’t get enough of it. So could the coronavirus lockdown end up making time for a topic often not covered in school?
I.e. “Mom, I did my chores. Can I get my allowance? I want to buy (fill in the blank) – asap!” “Sure, but stores are closed. Let’s talk alternatives, kiddo. Saving… is probably just as fun.”
I had actually stocked up on books for my 11-year-old son before the lockdown started – among others, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, the graphic novel Persepolis, and two kids’ handbooks from the publisher Usborne: on Money and Business. I thought the Hitchhiker’s Guide was sure to be a hit, Persepolis could work, and, well, the other two were on impulse. Let’s see, I thought. Kid needs to keep learning.
First of all, let me just say that I nailed this (for once). Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, I remembered afterward, this is a kid who, at age 4, invited all his kindergarten classmates to watch his play – but instead of giving a performance, he spent the whole afternoon refining a complex box office system and hawking tickets. Theater was apparently just a front for doing business. In any case, Money and Business were a huge success in our household and I have since spent hours fielding questions about regressive vs. progressive taxation, hearing how products and services get priced, etc.
These two books also had a lovely side effect: leaning back in a chair at the kitchen table shortly after finishing them, my son said, “You know, Omi loves buying and trading stocks. Apparently she’s really good at it. I’m going to ask her how she learned – and if she has any tips!” Fwiw, a few email exchanges and one delighted Omi (that’s a German grandma) later, grandmother’s tips are: you need to have steely nerves, enjoy a little risk-taking, be in it for the long game, and occasionally just get lucky.
Sometimes it takes a quarantine, or a good book, to get better at reaching out to our loved ones. In the meantime, I’m grateful that we’re safe, healthy, and have enough books to keep learning during this weird, scary time. Clearly once this is past, I’ll be handing over financial management of the household to a certain 11-year-old. Stay well out there.
Money for Beginners, by Eddie Reynolds, Matthew Oldham, and Lara Bryan, plus several subject matter experts. Illustrated by Marco Bonatti. Usborne: London, 2019. 126 pages, including glossary.
Business for Beginners, by Lara Bryan and Rose Hall, plus subject matter experts. Illustrated by Kellan Stover. Usborne: London, 2018. 125 pages, including glossary.
P.S. Also Persepolis and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.