Written by: Johnny Kwan, Curriculum Director of the International Gifted and Talented Development Education Institute

Education experts in the West believe that children should start learning financial knowledge from the age of 3 and have developed educational plans for various age groups, which can be referenced by Hong Kong parents.

Age 3: Recognize coins, understand their values, and differentiate between paper money and coins.

Age 4: Learn to use money to buy simple items like crayons, small toys, and snacks. It’s best for parents to be present when making purchases to prevent businesses from taking advantage of children.

Age 5: Understand that money is earned through labor and engage in basic monetary transactions.

Age 6: Can count larger sums of money and begin learning about saving, fostering a sense of ‘my own money.’

Age 7: Can look at product price tags and compare them with their money to determine their purchasing power.

Age 8: Understand how to open a bank account and save money, as well as find ways to earn pocket money, such as selling newspapers.

Age 9: Can create their own budget plan and grasp the concept of buying and selling.

Age 10: Knows how to save and spend their allowance wisely, including buying more expensive items when necessary, such as rollerblades and scooters.

Age 11: Learn to evaluate commercial advertisements, identify value-for-money products, and understand the concepts of discounts and promotions.

Age 12: Understand the value of money, recognizing that it is hard-earned and develop a sense of thrift.”

After the age of 12, children can fully participate in adult society’s business activities, such as financial management and transactions.

From the above plan, it is clear that Western societies place a strong emphasis on children’s financial awareness education, which is related to the developed consumer economy in Western countries. From this, we can draw several insights:

Money is integral to daily life: Children’s interest in money develops earlier than their understanding of many other things. A few trips to the shopping mall with parents are often enough to firmly establish the concept of money’s utility in a child’s mind.

The close relationship between money knowledge and character education: When children understand that money should be earned through labor, they develop a sense of valuing and sharing money, which leads to saving and prevents wastefulness. In Hong Kong, many students show no appreciation for money and engage in reckless spending, a phenomenon closely related to the lack of financial education.

Teaching children to save money instills good habits: This will be beneficial to them when they grow up and engage in financial careers. John D. Rockefeller, the founder of the Rockefeller Foundation in the United States, received a weekly allowance of 10 cents from his grandfather during his childhood. His grandfather would check if he had increased that amount by the weekend, prompting young Rockefeller to sell newspapers on the street and cultivate the concept of earning money through labor.

In hindsight, John D. Rockefeller’s childhood not only had great significance for his future as a business titan but also offers valuable lessons for children’s financial education worldwide.