Have you ever asked your child "If someone gave you $1 million today, what would you do with it?"
I'm assuming you may not have. But if you did pose that question, what do you think they might say? And what would their answer tell you about your child? Something quite interesting, it seems.
Researchers in the UK asked 1300 kids aged 10 – 15 what they would do if someone gave them $1 million (or £1 million).
Why? Because although we live in an economic world, there has been very little research into children's relationship with money. There have also been rising concerns about our increasingly materialistic lives, how kids are becoming more greedy and entitled, and how pester power is causing havoc at the shops.
So are we raising a generation of 'me-me-me' materialistic kids, or do children have a more well-rounded and balanced view of money and its benefits?
The researchers found that children could be divided into three categories: givers, savers, or spenders.
Furthermore, they found that:
- 36 per cent of kids said that they would spend all or most of the money
- 14 per cent said they could save all of it
- 25 per cent said they could spend some and give some away
- 25 per cent said they would give all of it away.
More girls than boys were givers, and more boys were spenders than savers. There were more spenders amongst the younger aged kids, and more savers in the older group.
So while the minority of children would spend, spend, spend, the vast majority would be more generous or prudent, preferring to share or save.
But this is only part of the story. It is also interesting to hear how children would spend the money, and who they would share it with.
Of the givers, children mentioned they would give the money to a combination of charities, family and friends. Favourite charities included those who supported the ill, poor, those in war-torn countries, and animals.
When it came to giving away money to family members, many of the children spoke of the money being used to pay mortgages, debts and to help family businesses.
The spenders, meanwhile, dreamt of big houses with swimming pools, sports cars, horses and stables, travel, and of meeting celebrities or becoming famous themselves.
So what does this tell us about kids and money? Money is certainly a means to buy 'stuff'. But money is also social; it tells us how kids feel about the relationships in their lives.
Yes, some kids wanted to spend up big, but the majority wanted to use the money to help other people, or to set their family or themselves up for a brighter future. This is heartening.
Perhaps the more we value relationships over 'stuff' and time over money, the more we will be creating a less materialistic and more connected world for our children to inherit.
Jodie Benveniste is an expert in intuitive parenting. You can get your free gift 'Unlocking the secrets of intuitive parenting' at jodiebenveniste.com.