Should children ‘learn to earn’ their pocket money?

Did you do the odd chore to earn your pocket money when you were younger? 

DESIGN-418-pocket-money-600Sarah Willingham, consumer champion, mum of four and BBC Dragon has called for British parents to rethink how they give pocket money to their children with Experian research finding that 85% of British children that receive pocket money don’t always have to earn it.[1]

Sarah told us: “Pocket money is often the first experience children have of managing money, and I’d like us, as parents, to take a more active role in teaching our kids the importance of earning their pocket money and saving for the things they’d like.

“Good financial sense is an essential life skill in the same way as learning to swim or ride a bike. If kids take an active role in family life and are encouraged to take part in activities to earn their pocket money rewards, they’ll not only build up their financial savvy but also their self-confidence and a brilliant feeling of achievement.

Video: Sarah Willingham talks about how to teach children to budget

Experian’s research found that most (58%) parents are trying to take an active role teaching their children how to manage money well.  However, for many parents, issues such as a lack of time, a lack of confidence, knowledge or suitable resources are factors that are holding them back.

When deciding how much pocket money to give, 47% of parents based it on how much they could afford, a further 29% based on the child’s age, and 26% based on their child’s financial need. One in ten (10%) parents give pocket money as and when the child asks for it.

There are all sorts of ways kids can earn their pocket money, from washing the car to walking dogs – whatever works for you as a family.  But the point is that pocket money should be earned not expected.”  Sarah adds.

Looking to the future, 37% of parents are concerned about their child’s ability to manage their money when they become financially independent.

Although financial education became a compulsory part of the secondary-school curriculum in England in 2014, some pupils are still missing out, particularly in primary schools.

University of Cambridge research, commissioned by the Money Advice Service, shows that by the age of seven children have developed their attitudes and values towards money[2] – and these are likely to stay with them for life.

Sarah continues:  “It’s clear that kids’ attitudes towards money are shaped at a much younger age than we think, so we need to start the process of talking about money at home as early as possible.”

Recognising the importance of helping children learn essential money management skills early in life, Experian and Sarah Willingham have partnered to develop Jangle, a free app which has been quality marked by pfeg (part of Young Enterprise).

Jangle is a great new and free app for children aged 7-11, that teaches children money skills in a fun and easy way while helping them save for the things they want.  You can find out more about Jangle here, and you can download the Jangle app for iPad here.


[1] Research was carried by ComRes who interviewed 1,533 British parents of children aged between 5-18 online between the 19th and 23rd of January 2016.

[2] Habit Formation and Learning in Young Children, by Dr David Whitebread & Dr Sue Bingham (University of Cambridge) : Report commissioned by The Money Advice Service May 2013

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