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What happens for the rest of their lives, when they have to manage money on their own?
That’s the more important legacy you can give them. When it comes to children and personal finance, there are two distinct issues that parents face, or should face. The obvious one, which is to save for children’s future needs. Until a couple of decades ago, this wasn’t really a top-of-mind issue with Indian parents, as publicly-funded, reasonably-priced education did the job, more or less.
Now, most parents with growing children are acutely aware of how expensive education is, and try to save enough to finance it. Still, this is only one children-related money issue. There’s another one, which most parents are not aware of, but is actually more important which I’ll come to in a moment.
What happens when you buy something? What exactly does a bank do with your money? How do taxes work? What are investments? How do investments grow? How is money created? Why does the value of investments increase with time while that of a car or a phone decrease? Why were prices of things low in the past? Why will they be higher in the future? Etc etc.
We expect that such things will be tackled in formal education and your child will learn about them in school. However, that’s not happening. Even if it does, there will be some rote learning just like every other subject and nothing will connect with real life. The best thing you can do for your child’s financial future is to equip him or her to understand how money works.
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