K: I guess when it comes to living in the real world; a lot of children have no idea how much it costs of certain things. And, you will be surprised to what they do know though. Natalie Olivery went along to find out. Have a look.
Okay, well should kids be paying more attention to the real cost of goods so they’ll be prepared for life after they live home? Sharon Witt joins me.
Good Morning Sharon!
Sharon Witt: Good morning Kerri-anne. This actually came out of a survey in the UK that said that over half of the teenagers who were actually surveyed thought that a loaf of bread costs more than, no, more than a pound a loaf. No, sorry, that was 29 pints a loaf, and it was actually one pound a loaf. But half the teenagers didn’t realize how much a loaf of bread was actually worth.
K: It’s just the cost of living, that’s food let alone I-phones. Okay, so I guess that with all said and done, it’s actually the parents’ fault.
Sharon Witt: Well, okay let’s blame everything on the parents.
K: But I mean, truth be known, if your kid doesn’t know how much it is that means that not had to do it.
Sharon Witt: I think we certainly have those conversations with their children. I mean, I take my children food shopping with me most times, ‘cause they’re great help. That we actually talk through things, you know, how much does this costs and how much is the milk and how many can I get, for you know, what’s on special. And I think that’s really important to have those conversations with children be as early as you can because, you know, they’re living in a real world.
Sharon Witt: It is hard, you got two working parents you got to take the kids half the time because there’s nowhere else to leave them. But going through those important things, it must be exhausting. Okay. At what age should parents really start to instill what things cost? Because to them, it’s all relative.
Sharon Witt: I think as early as children starts to understand and start to ask for things. So, as soon as children starts to say, “Oh can I have an ice cream?”, or you know, “Can I have McDonald’s for dinner?”, or whatever. Start to say, you know, “Okay, but we need to look at our budget”, and we need to, we don’t just have, money just don’t grow on trees, as my mom used to say. You know, you actually need to start to say “This is how much we have this week”, and it does costs. Because children will forever put their hands out for more things, you know, as much as they can.
K: Have been doing that forever. Okay, so, if there’s a pocket money type of household, you start as early as possible. Are you talking 5, 10?
Sharon Witt: Yeah. Of the parents that I’ve surveyed, my students start sort of 5, 6, 7 year old. As soon as the children can start to actively participate, unpack the dishwasher, make their beds, clean the bathroom.
K: So, it’s chores for pocket money?
Sharon Witt: Yeah. Well, there are some households that I’ve surveyed that actually say, “No, I’m not actually going to pay”, the children are just going to do their said chores and then as part of just running a normal household. Whilst, other parents will actually pay a certain amount a week to expect these certain chores will be done. So, it’s 50-50.
K: Then they get to think that, I want an ipad, I want and iphone, I want all these other thing.
Sharon Witt: I want an ipad Kerri-anne. You know, 6,7,$800. Children are saying, oh, I know one parent whose son wants flat screen TV with foxtel hooked up into his room. “Thank you very much” for his birthday. So, and there are some parents that can afford these and have high incomes. Absolutely, we’ll put a flat screen in there.
K: But on average, if, you know, a lot of kids will have these things. So, at what stage should you make them contribute to it? And is that for even a birthday present?
Sharon Witt: Well, I think if it’s a really expensive birthday present, you could say, Look we’ll go halves or you can start putting some money towards that. But I certainly think that if your children are wanting some high ticketed items, that they certainly should start to put some money aside. I mean, I remember we had like one of those thermometers charts up on our kitchen, on the fridge. And my son had to color it in as he certainly saves up for something special. So you could see that it’s actually a process to save up for me. We’re in a society now where people just put things, you know, on a credit card and pay for it later. And we really, we are going to raise a bunch of young people who are just going to be just credit pay for loans.
K: Hence, the survey today that said, apprenticeships are on decline simply because kids can go get menial jobs at a greater salary. A $6-8 an hour for a hair dresser or electrical apprentice.
Sharon Witt: That’s right. And I think is parents, it is really important for us to have these constant communication and really these conversations with their children from early on about finances. Otherwise, their gonna have a rude shock when they get their own home.
K: Indeed. Well, thank you very much Sharon.
Sharon Witt: Thanks Kerri-anne.