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Book recommendation - Trouble with money

Featured on the Hong Kong Economic Journal (January 31, 2019)


With Chinese New Year coming up, it’s a great time to capitalize on holiday time and read with your kids. It’s a wonderful way to bond, to spark discussions, to understand more of how your child thinks and feels about things as well as helping them in their language development.


So for the next two few installments, I’ll be recommending some books that are suitable for this season and any time of year. Most books that I enjoy recommending are for 4-8 year olds but can be read to younger students since they are picture books and I’ve noticed that some older ones enjoy them too.


With Chinese New Year coming up, many children will receive their lai see money and see it as an opportunity to increase their spending. Many have probably been waiting to collect the red pockets but how many will know what to do with what’s inside? How can we teach them the proper concept of money and how to use money responsibly?


One book series I have loved since I was a child is the Berenstain Bear series. The colourful illustrations, the humourous characters and the meaningful storylines have always made them a favourite of my book collection. One book in the series is called ‘Trouble with Money’ and it’s about how Brother and Sister Bear want to save up to buy some very special jackets for themselves. But because they don’t have enough money in their piggy bank, they think of ways to earn money. But along the way, they become so obsessed with making money that they forget about their friends, and put their priority on money more than other things. So they learn an important lesson that money is a great resource but it isn’t for hoarding and instead, should be used wisely.


So what does ‘using money wisely’ mean to children? We use a simple memory device to help students remember – the 3Ss – spend, save and share.


S – Spend

It’s a necessary part of life to spend money so the question isn’t about whether to spend but what to spend it on. One way to process that thought is to ask what are ‘needs’ and what are ‘wants’. Buying books for school might be a need but buying the new Pokemon anthology book might be a want. Buying water for a hiking trip might be a need but buying sugary snacks for it is most likely a want. Learning to differentiate between the two is a good start to know how to spend one’s money.


S – Save

This is perhaps what some parents choose to do with their child’s lai see money. I know that I take all my two-year-old’s money and save it up! But as children get older, they can learn the value of saving. It could be saving for short term goals, for example, they might want to save money for buying a toy they like. Or parents can share with them long term goals that they can save for like an education or a trip.


S – Share

I love this ‘S’ because I think it carries the true meaning of giving out lai sees at this time of year. Giving out lai sees is a way to bless the child and to share joy and what better time of year than to teach our children to do the same with others. So with what your child gets this year with lai sees, set aside a certain amount to share with others. It could be to buy a gift for a friend or family member or to donate it to a charity of choice. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to share with your child the different charities in town and how their sharing and giving will make a difference.


I think the greater lesson in the ‘Trouble with Money’ story that we can take away is that the more important things in life are things that money can’t buy – friendship, family and love. Let’s celebrate those things this Chinese New Year season and always.



#Responsibility#3S_of_spending #wise_spending #healthy_financial_habits

好書推介——《錢該怎麼用》


農曆新年將至,又是時候把握假期時間與小朋友一起閲讀。家長可以透過閲讀促進親子關係、激發討論、了解孩子的想法及感受,同時刺激孩子的語言發展。


在往後的兩個專欄,我會介紹一些適合這個季節,以及一些全年都可以閱讀圖的書。我推薦的圖書大部分適合四至八歲閱讀,但基於繪本的圖畫精美,也可吸收到年紀較小的小朋友,話雖如此,從我的經驗看來,年紀較大的孩子亦喜歡閲讀呢。


農曆新年將近,很多孩子都會收到利是,更會視之為增加積蓄的好機會。有些孩子或許已期待「逗利是」好一段時間,但到底有多少人想過如何利用這筆金錢?我們該如何教導他們正確的金錢觀及理財槪念?


「貝安斯坦熊」系列包含色彩繽紛的插圖、有趣的角色及富有意義的情節,是我從小到大最喜歡的書籍之一。系列中的《錢該怎麼用》(英文原著:Trouble with Money)講述一對兄妹熊想儲錢買一件非常特別的外套,但他們發現錢罌裡沒有足夠的金錢,故此想用盡方法賺錢。然而,他們在過程中顧著賺錢、只懂把錢放在首位,卻忘記了身邊的朋友。最後,牠們學會了金錢是一種重要的資源,但我們要做的是精明理財而非只把它用作儲備。


那「精明理財」對孩子來說又是什麼?我們可以用「3S」這個簡單的方法向孩子解釋——消費(Spend)、儲蓄(Save)及分享(Share)。


S——消費(Spend)

消費是生活的一部分,故此問題不是在於應否消費,而是把錢花在什麼東西上。其中一個方法是分辨什麼是「想要」和「需要」。買教科書是「需要」,但買新出版的寵物小精靈大圖鑑可能只是「想要」;行山前買水是「需要」,但買零食大概只是「想要」,學習分辨兩者是掌握理財的好開始。


S——儲蓄(Save)

不少父母都會把孩子的利是錢儲起來,我亦會把我兩歲兒子的利是錢全都儲起。然而,當孩子慢慢長大,他們可以開始學習儲蓄的真正意義。儲蓄可以用來實現短期目標,例如買一件他們喜歡的玩具,而父母亦能與孩子分享一些他們能透過儲蓄實現的長期目標,例如報讀一些有興趣的課堂或旅行。


S——分享(Share)

我最喜歡這個「S」,因為它帶有派利是的真正含義。派利是的原意是用來祝福小孩和分享快樂,新年正是教導孩子與其他人分享的時間。當孩子今年收到利是時,即使金額不多,也可鼓勵他們跟別人分享,例如買一份禮物給親友或向慈善團體捐款,而這亦是一個好機會跟孩子分享各個本地的慈善機構,讓他們明白自己的捐款可以如何影響別人。


《錢該怎麼用》所帶出的一個重要道理——人生中最珍貴的東西是用錢也買不到的,那就是朋友、家人和愛。祝願大家能與家人和朋友度過一個充滿愛的農曆新年,今後亦然!


christine@jems.com.hk

劉馬露明