The big lessons in life need to be imparted early. And there are often common threads running through them, not least about how to use money. Image Credit: Shutterstock

As adults, we’re responsible for ensuring younger generations are prepared for all aspects of life. My parents stressed the importance of earning and managing finances early on and that has undoubtedly shaped the person I am.

Financially literacy is critical to teach early on to ensure kids and teens have the required tools to build a successful future. Equally as important to teach early are topics such as climate change, global warming and, where possible, making sustainable choices as part of everyday life. Thankfully, money management and making sustainably conscious choices go hand in hand.

Financial literacy

Some parents don’t necessarily consider introducing their young ones to money management at the age of 8, but it can make a huge difference in their understanding of finances for the future. Teaching children about savings, thoughtful spending and getting value for their money will not only prepare them for their future but can give them a sense of freedom.

In a world of instant gratification and hyper-consumerism, it’s easy for people without the proper financial know-how to get into debt. Introducing money management skills to youngsters means they are less likely to make blunders. There are several ways you can do this, but often, people learn better by doing.

That’s why I recommend money management learning tools like Leap, an app which allows young people to manage their spending and save money while enabling their parents to oversee and help guide their financial activities. Learning the true value of money and that it is a finite resource can help young people to make smarter financial decisions and develop positive habits that last a lifetime. Having this knowledge can also help them to recognise the importance of conscious consumerism.

Conscious consumerism

In an ideal world, we would all become more conscious consumers, and in the Middle East, there has been a rise in the number of people buying products more thoughtfully. This has been driven primarily by Millennials and members of Gen Z.

These generations have grown up knowing that we are living with the effects of climate change and have been immersed in a world where accessing online information regarding environmental concerns is the norm. The more people involve themselves in conscious consumerism, the more significant an impact it can have on the planet. So, how do financial literacy and young people come into this?

Living greener

While it may not seem an obvious match, conscious consumerism and financial literacy work exceptionally well together. When discussing the importance of finances with young children, you should highlight the impact that poor spending choices can have not only on their bank balance but also the planet.

When it comes to clothing, for example, emphasise the difference between fast and slow fashion. Although fast fashion is cheaper, the low quality will almost always result in purchasing more, making it less cost-effective in the long run. Explaining that cheap products, in general, are often unethically manufactured and companies who sell them are not interested in being sustainable is also important, as is encouraging children to research the best brands and businesses for sustainability so they can continue to purchase more ethical products into adulthood.

Every year, about six billion un-recyclable plastic cards are pushed out into the environment. Generally, people tend to cut and throw away debit cards in the trash once they expire with lots ending up in our water streams and landfills. We’ve invested in our card manufacturing process to make sure all our debit cards are 100 per cent recyclable.

Understanding financial literacy from a young age can open opportunities for them later in life as they will be more financially secure. Knowing the value of money and checking the effects that our purchases can have on the planet are habits everyone should possess.

Future generations will be the most affected by climate change, so before it gets to the point of no return, we must start acting. By improving our children’s financial literacy, we can help improve their understanding of making financially smart and ethical purchases and help make the world a better place, one step at a time.