It’s interesting looking at the attitude of various generations towards money.
The War Generation was raised to be in debt to no-one for nothing. Don’t take credit and, if you do have to borrow, pay it off as fast as possible.
The Boomer Generation was raised to borrow as much as possible from everyone. The aim was to leverage as much as possible in youth years in order to create wealth and capital for the grey years.
Generation X was raised without understanding money at all. Just spend and the bank will find a way to give you credit. So they lived the life of Reilly and are now paying for it.
Obviously all of these attitudes are shaped and formed by banks and bank marketing.
Generation Y are now entering the brethren of banking with a loathing for the profession, a fear of credit and a disdain for those who borrow to own.
Obviously, these are very sweeping generalisations and fairly market specific, e.g. the above would not apply to consumers in Africa or China, but they are very true for my friends and family.
Equally, if bank marketors are responsible for these attitudes, then it is interesting to see how they are shaping the next generations’ understanding of credit.
I’ve noticed this in three recent illustrations of money and children.
The first was the winner of innotribe last year.
Against stiff competition from many innovations and innovators, Playmoolah from Singapore won the overall prize for a startup innovator in finance.
I was personally a little disappointed by this, not because Playmoolah is a poor choice but because there were many other startups more relevant to the core business of banking such as those that improve security, risk and reward.
But that may be the point, that the bankers were choosing the safe choice. The one they could partner with and the one that would teach our children about banking, money and finance.
If you don’t know Playmoolah, it’s a fun way for parents to teach their children about how to manage money. Here’s their innotribe pitch if you want the full insight:
So we see education of children as important.
This is reinforced by another company offering a financial education product that I recently encountered called Ekomini.
Ekomini is a USB connected piggy bank for children to see how saving builds toward goals. Again, a simple tool for parents to get their children understanding finance. A video overview gives you a good insight of this product.
And as can be seen from their marketing:
It’s a product that is multilingual and going global.
On a more localised basis however, I spotted this new play that’s being performed in London at the moment: Bank on it.
It’s a theatre show that aims to introduce children as young as five to the world of finance and starts with booking a ticket online as though you were opening a bank account. The show itself then starts with a broken ATM and an evasive bank-manager, just like in real life (?).
Interestingly, when you see why the show was created, there some interesting views. Sue Buckmaster, the Show’s artistic director, says:
"When adults try and explain what went wrong, they get very complicated very quickly."
Her proposal was to consult kids themselves.
When she asked them to explain a bank, "Five year-olds went: 'It's this thing in the wall. You put a card in and get money out. Then you go inside and buy stuff. It's called a Sainsbury's Bank or a Tesco Bank.' They understood it as a shop." Older children had a slightly different take. Asked why there might be a shortage of money, they suggested robbery and accidental overspending.
By jove, I think they've got it.