Teaching teens about money and finance is far easier than it is to teach tweens and younger kids. But financial literacy needs to be taught early on to ensure the lessons stay with them well into adulthood. A great way to do this would be tweaking fairy tales to smartly slip-in a topic or two. This could be just about any fairy tale, or better yet, their favourite ones! Here are three fairy tales altered for tots to learn all things money:
Little Red Riding Hood and the Predatory Wolf Lender:
Once upon a time, Little Red Riding Hood needed a loan very, very urgently. She set off on a journey to her trusted lender - the Woodland Loans. Along the way, she passed a little cottage with a sign on the thatched roof which read “Woodland Loans”. But the logo was different, the phone number seemed changed and she couldn’t remember seeing the lender there ever before. A wolf leaned out the front door and called her: “Come on in, pretty little girl! If you need a loan, let me tell you we’ve got the best in the whole forest!”
Little Red went inside. “We’ll get you your money right away,” said the wolf grinning and began showing her all the different options.
“My my, what large upfront payments you are asking for,” she exclaimed.
“It is only to be able to assist you properly my dear” said the wolf, “these are just normal fees to hand you the loan.”
She continued reading, “My my, what little information you are asking for…”
“To be able to serve you the best my dear,” he smirked, “we don't need your credit score or proof of income. Only the mean lenders ask for that…”
Little Red Riding Hood kept reading but the wolf was growing impatient and began forcing her to sign the loan agreement.
“My my, how insisting you are,” she said, frowning.
“All the more to SCAM you my dear,” laughed the wolf, flashing his teeth, “and once we’ve got your money, there’s nothing you can do about it!”
The Moral of the Story: Unfortunately, some lenders don’t have your best interest at heart. They’re predatory lenders. They might not be real lenders at all but criminals like the wolf in the story. They pose to be legitimate companies to scam you and steal your money and personal information.
Always do your due diligence and research the lender you’re dealing with along with the details of the offer you are considering. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.
The Ant’s and the Grasshopper’s Savings:
Long ago in a meadow by the forest a young grasshopper was enjoying his summer, not bothered about saving for the future. He loved playing his fiddle and making music for other insects. He even bought a fancier, more expensive fiddle with his credit card.
His friend the ant, however, was different. He used to work, save and plan for the future. The grasshopper didn’t pay much attention when the ant tried to talk him into saving for the future. He simply loved living in the moment.
Before the grasshopper knew it, summer was over. It was cold and his heating bills were racking up. But the grasshopper’s credit cards were maxed out from all the shopping and he was running out of money. Worst of all, he was nearing his retirement (bugs don’t live very long).
He asked around for help but his credit score had taken a dip and seeing his bad saving habits the other bugs were reluctant to lend him any money at all. He asked the ant for help. “I tried so hard convincing you to save,” said the ant, “retiring without any money to fall back on would be hard.”
The poor grasshopper was running out of options. If he didn’t find a way out of this menace, he might have to ask the wolf for a loan…
The Moral of the Story: We get caught up way too much in our day-to-day business and forget to put money away for emergencies or retirement. But no matter what your age is, it’s never too late to get on the right financial track.
The Tortoise and the Hare's Race Against Debt:
Down the road lived a tortoise and a hare. They had lots of fun going to the grasshopper’s concerts, buying cool things and just enjoying life together.
Soon, owing to their lavish lifestyle, their credit cards were maxed out and the interest was piling up fast.
The hare started paying it off as fast as he could. He made a lot of progress but the cash he had in hand became so tight that all it took was one accident to throw off his whole budget.
He had no emergency savings and so he had to use the credit card again, undoing all the progress he had made. He was back to square one.
The tortoise took a different approach, though. He picked one credit card at a time and made small, consistent payments every month. He knew it would take time but by doing this alongside saving enough for everyday problems, he slowly chipped away at the debt.
A year later, the tortoise was amazed by his own progress! His credit card was paid off! He’d crossed the finish line long before the hare even though he was moving at a much slower pace.
The Moral of the Story: If you want to pay off a debt or achieve any other financial goal, it can feel discouraging when it doesn’t seem like you’re making any progress. But if you take a slow and steady approach you will eventually get there. The key is consistency - stay the course and you’ll be happily surprised at how much progress you’ve made.
Let us know in the comments how the story telling session with your kids was.
We'll be publishing more such insightful blogs on financial literacy for kids everyday this week. Stay tuned and enjoy!