What’s your earliest memory of money?
Was it positive, like getting money on your birthday or saving for a toy you really wanted? Or maybe not so good – perhaps there were arguments about it, or there wasn’t always a lot of it around.
We often ask this question at the start of our Made of Money workshops, as a way of helping people to introduce themselves. People tell us stories about getting it, spending it, losing it… Someone once told me a story that involved them swallowing it! It’s a good way of breaking the ice and lightening the serious subject of money.
But there is a serious reason for asking the question. We want to encourage people to think about their attitude towards money and where it comes from. Early childhood experiences of money have a lasting influence over our financial behaviours as adults. Research shows that we start to develop our attitudes around money and learn specific financial habits from the age of seven, and that we are most heavily influenced by the actions of our parents or guardians. Learn more with this short clip.
My own early memory is of a savings club run by Abbey National at my primary school. My parents would give me money to pay into it regularly, so I could build up stamps in my savings card. I still remember the ‘thumbs up’ picture on the stamps! Eventually I got a proper grown up passbook – and so began a lifetime savings habit. I didn’t get a credit card until my mid-30s because my parents didn’t use one, and I was worried about the idea of having debt. I still always try to pay the bill in full as I don’t like the idea of owing money and being charged interest. I guess I’m now what they call risk-averse!
At Made of Money we encourage participants to think a bit more deeply about their relationship with money and what might be driving their spending habits. In parent groups, we talk about teachable moments, discussing how regular activities such as shopping or watching TV can be used to start conversations about money and consumer culture with children. Many people we’ve met say they weren’t taught about money when they were younger, and they want to teach their children good habits. Reflecting on and understanding your own money habits is a good place to begin.
I asked some of my colleagues to share some of their early money memories - do any of their stories resonate with you?
Share your earliest memory of money
As part of #TalkMoneyWeek, we're asking people to share their earliest memory of money.