What today’s children are definitely losing in the digital age is their understanding of the value of money. Dr. Mara Harvey, a banking specialist from Kreuzlingen, has long seen the dilemma and has developed the world’s first toolkit, the Financial Parenting Masterclass, which trains parents how to guide their children on the path to good money management at an early age. What’s new is that it’s based on the premise that it doesn’t make sense to learn parents shouldn’t teach kids how to manage money in yourtheir teens, but should start much, much earlier.
Dr. Harvey, when does it make sense to start financial parenting?
Like everything else important in life, awareness of money and its value is formed in early childhood. At age 7, a child may very well get an understanding of money.
You are a banker – have you always been committed to the issue of children and money?
I was born in England, grew up in Ticino, studied economics in Fribourg and did my doctorate. I then ended up in banking, but I was involved in an area only peripherally related to children, namely ultra high net worth clients, i.e. very wealthy families. During that time, I realized that women are less engaged in finance, and I wrote a book, Women and Risk (Nicolai Publishing). The mental leap from women to children was then not far. I brought to life a series of books for children, called “A smart way to start”. Each book deals with a different aspect: saving, spending, earning, doing good with money, etc.
What is your drive to teach children the right way to handle money?
Children need to know that every daily money decision, big or small, plays a significant role in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Are the books enough for that?
No, they are not. That’s why I offer the Financial Parenting Masterclass. Parents need to be aware of what they can do to make their children fit for their financial future. Pocket money alone is not enough; children need to be familiar with digital currency. Speaking of pocket money: Did you know that a pocket money gap already exists among children? Girls get 10-50 percent less pocket money than boys. But of course we don’t just want to empower young girls, it’s important for all the boys too – and everyone else!