Financial literacy wasn’t the first thing on Kathryn Main’s mind when she dropped out of high school at the end of Grade 9. But today it is her focus with Money Savvy Kids (MSK), a programme aimed at educating children about money. Twenty years ago, career opportunities for high-school dropouts, especially girls, were limited. Faced with the option of either becoming a hairdresser or beauty therapist, she chose the latter in order to support herself. At 26, she embarked on a new direction with media and advertising, and seven years ago, she launched Main Multimedia with her husband.
Cynics argue that Black Friday doesn’t teach your kids any life-long lessons they need to learn. Described by sceptics as a “capitalist consumption machine” that encourages consumers to spend till they drop- even if they are getting a steal on credit- is just one of the numerous shortcomings of the entire event. But what if we told you that you can take all the bad from this event and turn it to a lifetime of positive financial lessons for your kids?
Black Friday is the biggest man-made discount event of the year. Dare we say, it might just be better than Christmas shopping. Falling on 24 November this year, many had their wallets and shopping lists at the ready for the shopping trip of their lives. Happening over a minimum period of 24 hours depending on each retailer, one would view the event as a coming together of not-so-smart consumers spending money they do not have on things they do not need in record time. It isn’t the best example to set for kids due the emphasis on consumerism and irresponsible spending habits. But what have we learned from this year’s Black Friday extravaganza that we can take away with us? Here are the three major lessons that you might have missed in your rush to catch Black Friday deals.
Budget in advance. Black Friday just happened for the third year running this year. So, it is safe to say that it is going to happen again in 2018. Budgeting a whole year in advance is a great way to get your kids involved in the event. Including them in the process of budgeting by saving R200 a month for twelve-months in preparation for the event can teach them the benefits of delayed gratification. A budget also encourages kids to create a list of the essentials that they could not get during the year at a cheaper price.
Saving. Having a budget is one thing, but saving 20% of that budget after buying everything on your list of essentials will give your kids the zeal needed to continue the tradition into the following year. Getting them to donate that 20% they didn’t get to spend will be a bonus for them too. Having the foresight and practice to save 10% of your budget here and there is a nice way to get them to see that there is a reward for going the extra mile of finding the best deal possible by comparing prices.
Responsible spending. There is an enormous variety of products available on Black Friday. Retailers use the discount angle to get consumers through their doors and sales up. This makes the “logical consumer” within us disappear for at least 24-hours, only to re-appear when there is no money left to spend or are in severe debt due to overspending. This event just shows us as well as our kids what not to do in the event we can’t afford to go on a shopping spree. Its shows how easy it is to land into debt and serves as an example of how to avoid these traps for your kids too.
The biggest discount event on the planet is also the best way to teach your kids healthy spending habits as well as an alternative attitude towards money. Instead of campaigning for this one day to grind to a halt, use its downfalls as an incentive to teach your kids the financial lessons you never learned and help your kids lead a money savvy life.
By: Kgopotso Kgwedi
‘Raising Money Savvy Kids book launched this week and we have had some fantastic feedback.
Please go to the book tab and buy your copy for R50.
Thank you so so much for the book. Its so easy to read ,its well written , I felt as if you were sitting right there in my living room next to me when I was reading it. Not only will I use the knowledge for my daughter, but for myself as well for example the table that you gave on page 42. it was so informative I could not put it down. I will read it again slowly taking notes and will certainly apply to my 7 year old daughter.
Just been flicking through your new book.
Congratulations, it is terrific.
I love the personal commentary and link to your family life and experiences as it makes a real connection with the readers.
Well done, I know only too well what a monumental task it is to write a book of any size and scale.
MSK is proud to announce their very first offering in the form of a straight-to-the-point yet effective guide to Raising Money Savvy Kids. The book gives parents hands-on lessons for kids between ages four and fifteen and will be available in epub and PDF formats on the website for only R50 per download.
According to Momentum financial wellness researcher, Pieter Rossouw, it remains to be seen if the South African millennials or ‘Afrilennials’ will survive financially in an already challenging economic environment. As members of the swipe-and-click generation, youth are at risk of showing a lack of appreciation for the value of physical money. With the concept of money becoming more abstract by the year, wallets no longer contain physical money, only plastic. With the rise of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, it has become imperative to teach our youth the financial basics from as young as three.
South Africa has one of the lowest financial literacy levels in the world. The majority of our adult population is trapped in severe debt and many Afrilennials are heading in the same direction if serious steps are not taken. With a vast array of financially sophisticated products available to them it is important that young people truly understand all the financial concepts and pitfalls that come with products.
Written by Kathryn Main, a devoted mother of three, her parental instincts recognise the critical importance of giving South African youth a financial advantage their parents never had. Make sure to purchase your own copy to secure a money savvy life for your child/ren.
After the 2008 global economic meltdown, many young adults remain wary about using credit. Of the 55-million people living in South Africa today, a minimum of 20-million are young adults. This is 20-million young and impulsive potential consumerism victims that are repetitively bombarded with dazzling commercials that offer a gateway into debt.
Either through offering ‘free’ R1000 vouchers when you open an instore account or influencing their consumers to blow R1000 or more – that they do not have – just to get R300 off purchases accumulated, retailers are out to make a profit by landing you into debt you do not need. Advertisements lure you into needing something that you want. Due to the blurring line between needs and wants, the NCR (National Credit Regulation) found that ten million people in the republic find themselves in severe debt.
But Millennials seem to be struggling to avoid credit as best they can. A recent Bankrate survey conducted in the United States of America reveals that fewer than one third of people between ages 18 and 35 have a credit card. And as it stands, this is a record low percentage. In South Africa, however, people are financing their lives through credit. Whether it be buying necessities such as clothing and food, consumers are trapped in the vicious buy-now-pay-later cycle. Consumers conveniently forget that paying back the money later will come with interest attached. This ultimately means that consumers find themselves in a worse off situation when the next payday arrives.
Another factor keeping consumers trapped in debt is the process of building a credit record. Young people are especially at risk as it is a rite of passage to sail uncharted credit waters. To build a strong credit, financial institutions need to see that they are a responsible payer. To be able to buy that dream house or that car you have been eyeing since its release into the market, it is required to have been in debt at one point in the past and be on top of said debt’s repayments during the time in which you apply for a home loan at the bank.
Understanding the repercussions of getting into debt is a crucial skill for consumers to hone. This skill will allow for the x-ray vision needed to see the inner trappings of debt when it is offered in extravagant packaging known as advertising. So, spending that R1000 to get R300 vouchers leaving you in R700 debt will be a not so bright idea after all.
The customer education process of financial training is, in basic terms, flawed. Encouraging individuals who have reached economic maturity and are already set in their atrocious financial habits is equated to trying to build the world’s first time machine. Fundamentally, attempting to instill foundations that should have been laid during one’s youth will result in individual’s drowning into debt and, ultimately losing everything in the process anyway.
Whether we like it or not, money will continue to be a part of our human existence. Since the invention of currency, people have been trying to figure out how to best make, use and invest their earnings. Traditionally these individuals are classified as adults- normally 18-years and older. But recently, it is children that are being put first in the hope of training them for this age-old struggle. In a nation where close to 60% of its population do not know what the term ‘interest’ truly means, customer education regarding all financial lingo that accompanies personal finances must be equally imparted to the greater society. It is important to note that the single most crucial skill that can make or break one’s financial freedom is not taught in schools. Amazingly, one does graduate with a four-year degree and learn the equivalent of zero about personal finance or investing.
In an effort to save South Africa from being swallowed whole from debt alone, the Financial Services Board and Department of Treasury placed consumer education on the national agenda in 2010 and proposed a National Strategy for Financial Literacy. This called for a joint effort by industry bodies, the private sector and the newly formed National Industry Steering Committee (NISC) to address consumer credit skills relating to budgeting, financial planning, decision-making and understanding the cost and risk of credit.
Financial literacy for kids is fast becoming an indispensable market that lays groundwork for creating a financially savvy youth era. Clearly, children possess a lack of working knowledge of financial concepts and do not have the tools needed to make decisions most advantageous to their economic wellbeing. Due to this prejudice, customer education that is geared towards children, specifically, is scares to none. We at Money Savvy Kids strive to bridge this gap and provide content that is, in leman’s terms, dumbed-down enough for even a four-year-old to understand. Keeping in mind that the customer in this customer education process are children as young as four-years-old whose neuropathways are still developing, is a priority. We, as MSK, take this fact gravely as being at the helm of children’s development is a momentous and delicate process to say the least.
The visible issues of high levels of consumer debt and low saving rates creates a sense of urgency surrounding financial literacy for children. For parents to purely rely on the ‘unshaken fact’ that their children will learn all the invaluable knowledge and skill-set that is to allow them to make informed and effective decisions with their financial resources in their adult life from osmosis alone, just goes to prove that parents are living in a warped reality altogether. Financial literacy cannot be learned by simply reading the trusted 300-page user manual of yesteryear that is seldom fully understood or, if you are a follower of trends, watching a series of online videos in a single day. Achieving financial freedom is an ongoing process that involves every financial decision one makes throughout their lives. Even that first time your child buys sweets with pocket money that they have earned from doing chores around the house.
MSK truly wants to position our youth for success. Providing content that has been formulated to improve consumer behaviour from a young age by enhancing and increasing levels of knowledge, awareness and borrower confidence so that consumers can make more informed decisions when borrowing or applying for credit as adults is what we do. Financial literacy is nothing new. What is new, however, is how MSK imparts content to students. MSK teaches content through ‘teachable moments’ relevant to the specific life-stages of an individual’s life. These ‘teachable moments’ may range from taking out a student loan or buying a home. Consumer education structured around these moments are the most effective method to consumers understanding financial concepts such as credit and investing.
Customer education does not only depend on the ‘consumer’. It is also the responsibility of financial service providers, both public and private, to assist in responsible lending practices that will ultimately empower consumers and aid in economic development. These efforts can have a positive impact on the way people think about and behave towards personal finances. Let MSK help the children of our nation write a finance success story that will have them enjoying a money savvy life.
Main Multimedia and Money Savvy Kids (MSK) recently joined forces with First National Bank (FNB) to create videos that teach to the problem, not the tools via ‘teachable moments’ relevant to the specific life-stages of an individual’s life.
Found under the MFM Money umbrella, Main Multimedia, a full-service advertising agency, and MSK, a financial literacy and entrepreneurial programme for kids as young as four, has collaborated with FNB to produce quality work that is undoubtedly seen in a total of ten innovative videos.
The animated videos are a visual feast of entertaining yet informative content for both the young and old to familiarize themselves with financial lingo that they would otherwise not comprehend. Financial concepts such as budgeting, saving, expenses, debt, and many more are covered in the videos. An unconventional approach to explaining the concepts in question was embraced by all parties involved. The result of all the hard work and sweat are ten videos that will catch the imagination of its audience while grooming them to become a financially savvy one, too.
Ditch the pen and paper by watching these videos so the financial expert in you can come out when it matters most. Get your learn on so you can lead a financially savvy life today.
Money Savvy Kids (MSK), is now accepting Bitcoin as a method of payment for all services rendered as from 1 July 2017. It is due to the recognition of the widespread popularity and use of this cryptocurrency that MFM Money has come to this decision.
Bitcoin is the first decentralized digital currency on the planet that is kept in a digital wallet on your computer or mobile device. It is not controlled by any single entity and the process of sending bitcoins is as simple as sending an email. All transactions are recorded in a transparent public virtual ledger that can be reviewed by anyone with an internet enabled computer. Other traditional methods are still accepted and encouraged.
Ever wonder what Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Larry Ellison have in common? They’ve all dropped out of high school or university to make their entrepreneurship dreams come true. Sure, it’s a risky move, but it seems to have paid off, right?
As parents, we want to encourage our kids to play to their strengths. And we want to help them develop into successful, well-rounded adults who are equipped with everything they need to live long and happy lives. But we don’t necessarily want them to quit school to learn what they need to learn.
And that’s why Money Savvy Kids was started… To educate young children on what money is and how to work with it – so they don’t have to learn the hard way.
After all, entrepreneurship is on the rise, both in South Africa and internationally. More often we’re hearing about the gig economy (where people will not be employed full-time but will work on different projects that require their skills as the need arises) and freelancing.
Not to mention the intimidating report released by the World Health Organisation predicting that as much of 60% of the jobs our children will hold in future don’t even exist yet. This also highlights the need for new solutions through entrepreneurship.
Even our deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, recently stressed how important it is that we teach children about entrepreneurship, as it’s one of the sectors with the most growth and promise.
As parents, we all had algebra (for example) as a subject while we were in school, yet we hardly use it now. Imagine if the schooling system taught us to do our taxes instead. Now that’s a life skill we would actually use!
Don’t we as parents owe it to our children to equip them with entrepreneurship skills and enrol them in programmes like Money Savvy Kids and fast track them to success?
According to the World Bank and Standard & Poor, only about 33% of the world’s adult population are financially literate. In other words, only 33% of adults worldwide understand how money works, which enables them to make informed and effective decisions with their financial resources.
If you’re reading this article, you might form part of the 33% who doesn’t recognise that money makes the world go round or understand how to make and work with your money. The sad thing is that financial literacy is probably not something you learnt at school. And yet, imagine how different – and simpler – your life could have been if you had gained insight on how to work with your personal finances when you were a child.
It was exactly this realisation – that kids aren’t taught enough about money and personal finance management – that inspired Kathryn Main to start Money Savvy Kids, an organisation that teaches kids that “money is something to be understood and respected”. When she realised that her own son quickly picked up on financial management principles and grasped financial literacy concepts with ease, Kathryn started focusing on teaching other young kids about money matters too.
It comes as no surprise that young children are natural and savvy money ‘managers’ if you consider the fact that children’s neural pathways develop rapidly between the ages of 4 and 12 years – making it the ideal time to teach them about these essential life skills that will set them up for long-term success.
Alan Greenspan famously stated that “the number one problem in today’s generation and economy is the lack of financial literacy”. Money Savvy Kids believes in combatting this crisis by empowering all kids from a young age. Join us in the financial literacy revolution and visit www.moneysavvykids.co.za today.