Money know-how important for young people

Issue: Volume 99, Number 12

Posted: 31 July 2020
Reference #: 1HA9NZ

At Christchurch’s Linwood Avenue School, a Year 5 and 6 class has been learning everything they need to know about real estate, mortgages, interest rates, investing and insurance.

Learning financial capabilities at school will help students with money management in their future lives.

When Colin Hill and Victoria Brookland’s classes were amalgamated more than five years ago, they were looking for something unique for their new combined class and trialled Banqer: an online financial education tool. 

The world of finances has been intrinsically woven into classroom life ever since.

“We were going to have a break from it this year, but the children kept wanting to do it. That shows how well it’s going – it’s driven by them,” says Colin.

Tamariki in the class begin the year with a guaranteed ‘income’ and can earn extra money by undertaking paid jobs.

“Children can apply for jobs around the classroom so we talked about what goes in a CV and what gives you the qualities for specific jobs. If it’s fish tank maintenance – what sort of experience do you have to help you with that?” explains Colin.

Learning about money

At the start of each year, Year 5 students sign a ‘Condition of Employment’. Excited by the potential to spend money (after expenses) on perks and privileges, they spend up large. 

“The Year 6s have learnt their lessons from the previous year. When the Year 5s come in, they’re spending massive amounts of money on renting couches and luxury furniture items for the week. The Year 6s sit back and giggle, knowing their money they’ve placed in investments (savings, term deposits, KiwiSaver and property) will increase long term. 

“When it comes to terms 3 and 4, the younger ones have spent all their money in terms 1 and 2 and can no longer afford these items as prices have been driven up by Year 6 children who have large amounts of money,” he says.

Getting the property bug

One of the most popular Banqer modules has been the one on real estate. 

“We’ve got a bird’s eye view of a property which we call Linwood City. Once children have saved money, they can buy land with a house. Then we go through the insurance module – they go through the different things that can impact your premium prices. Children can put pools, guest houses on their property, but to do that they need to know they will be paying a bit more insurance. 

“Banqer allows us to create disasters regularly that have an impact on property. To simulate the real world, it randomly selects houses to affect. Children without insurance no longer get rental income, but continue to pay their mortgage. 

“The buy-in for that module is amazing considering they’re not really getting anything. They get their house on the board with their name and they love that.”

Rich real-life learning

Colin says he hadn’t previously taught concepts like insurance, mortgages and rent, but they are full of rich learning opportunities, such as in mathematics; particularly around proportions and ratios when considering deposits, interest and insurance, or for some students skip counting in class auctions.

But it’s not all about money in Room 13.  

“I’m not big on giving children money just for doing the right thing, but I do believe children need to know how to earn money and be aware of ways to use it. However, it can be helpful, for example, if you get a reliever in your class and the children need a bit more incentive.”

Essential skills for life

Colin believes that self-management is the biggest key competency his students learn from the Banqer programme. 

“Self-management is the BIG thing. When children come in, they naturally just want to spend their money. They learn about being actively involved in a job and fulfilling the position to the best of their ability and as per the job description.  Banqer allows us to terminate their contract after a verbal warning if children aren’t doing their job correctly.  We say to them, ‘If you make mistakes, that’s all right. But it’s better that you make these mistakes now than when you’re an adult’.

“I think it’s important for children to learn financial capabilities. Their parents often say, ‘We wish we were taught these skills at school’. 

“Our school is all about empowering children to make positive contributions to the world and that’s what we are trying to do. It’s a positive thing and they are making sure they are looking after themselves, their family... that’s all we can ask for,” says Colin.

Banqer and partners

Banqer Primary, which is available at no cost to all primary schools around Aotearoa through Kiwibank sponsorship, has been used by over 100,000 Kiwi students. Banqer High, launched this year, has been used by over 5,000 students. The programme is subsidised for New Zealand secondary schools by partners, including Kiwibank and the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ).

ICNZ has worked with Banqer since 2015 to help young Kiwis grow their insurance literacy.

Banqer chief operating officer Simon Brown explains, “Through simulated scenarios in the Banqer platform, students learn about the importance of insurance, how to recognise risks and manage them. For example, if they’ve chosen to skip buying insurance and a flood hits their house in Banqer High, they’ll have to replace all of their contents, while other classmates who did take out insurance have their contents replaced.”

There are a number of curriculum resources on Financial Capability(external link) to help teachers with their planning and teaching in this area.  See how Colin and other classes are using Banqer(external link) to grow their students’ financial skills.

Student kōrero 

Year 6 students from Linwood Avenue School talk about money management.

Q: Why do you like Banqer and what do you like the most?

Noah : I like spending money on things in our class. I also like earning more money through interest.

Angus : I like it because it simulates the real world, I can transfer money and earn interest. I like that I know how I can go about buying expensive things like cars and property.

Savanna : It’s like being a grown-up but at school, like buying things with the money I’ve earned.

Tanisha : It gets me ready for the real world. I like earning more money through interest, especially term deposits.

Q: What have you learned from it?

Noah : I learned many things. How to save money and how to earn extra income through interest (savings and term deposits). When I was Year 5, I didn’t know about KiwiSaver or term deposits, but now I know what they are and how to use them well.

Angus : I have learned how to manage my money and how mortgages work. I would try and buy a house, but if I didn’t have enough, I would put more into savings to earn more interest. I would need to keep enough in my everyday account to pay my bills.

Savanna : Managing money, making sure I get out insurance for any houses or transport I might own. I didn’t know anything about banking or KiwiSaver and now I know a lot about it and can do more things to do with money.

Tanisha : Putting money into savings to get interest and to keep enough money in your everyday account to pay bills.

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BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 9:22 am, 31 July 2020

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