What a bunch of 10-year olds taught me about money

By Frank Conway

Yesterday was money day at one Dublin primary school.

Gathered were some 30 5th class students. All of them had been provided copies of the Talking Cents  (Edition 4) Money Magazine developed by MoneyWhizz and Bank of Ireland.

Edition 4 discussed a range of topics on the Cash V’s Cashless debate that adults work through on a day-by-day basis.

So, the students were asked to give their thoughts on their own preference on whether they preferred cash or cash-less when it came to receiving money, saving money and spending money.

Overall, the preference was for cashless by about a margin of 2:1.

While talking with the students, it was clear that all had read Talking Cents Edition 4 but their personal take was very interesting. So, when it came to group discussions, all of the students were eager beavers to tell me why they preferred cashless:

“It’s far easier” said one.

“It’s quicker” said another.

“You won’t have so much change and it’s cleaner” said a third.

But it was the reaction of a fourth that was really captivating

“Some shops can’t take cashless so you’ll need cash” was her observation.

She was spot on. Some shops, or merchants don’t have the card-reader technology necessary to read contactless cards. It was a moment of clarity for me personally. A 10-year old got it. They got the paying thing and they knew where roadblocks exist from just observing their parents or even from their own experiences.

On a range of other topics, this class of 10-year olds exhibited a very strong wish to learn and peppered me with some really interesting questions, including:

“How does and employer pay your money into the right bank account?”

“Can an employer take money out of your bank account if they have your bank account details?”

“Does that money belong to the bank?”

And when it came to a class challenge that involved identifying a selection of currencies from various countries, while most of the kids got the answers right, one made a very astute observation:

“Why do so many currencies have men on them?” – it was the question of the day!

My aim for the class visit was to teach a group of 10-year old students about money.

I came away having learned a lot myself; kids are smart, they want to learn and when they are engaged in a relevant way, they want to learn.

Frank Conway is a Qualified Financial Adviser and Founder of MoneyWhizz, the financial education service. 


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