Talk – How to teach children about the world of finance
Our guest in today's Coffee Talk is Aysha van de Paer, financial expert and keynote speaker, and we talk about how to introduce children to the world of finance and investing.
Felix: What motivated you to work in the financial sector?
Aysha: I always liked the idea of investing, but for a long-term perspective. There is this saying: the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the second best time is now. So that's the principle of starting as early as possible. I was never attracted to the trading aspect of constantly buying and selling. That's why I initially went into real estate, because I liked the idea of something long-term and tangible. After my studies, I entered the real estate industry and was involved in private real estate investments for a while. I started investing privately as a teenager. I had my first experience at 16 when I invested in a very traditional bank product. It didn't go well and after a few years I sold it and lost about 200 francs. Then I stopped for a while and started again when I was 30. That's a good learning experience. You learn more from losses than from gains. A lot of people are afraid to start and make mistakes, but the key is to start. Maybe not with everything you have right away, but start with a certain amount, test the waters and gain experience and confidence in the game, if you can call it that.
Felix: You have 15 years of experience in this industry. You mainly speak to adults, but you're also a mother of two children. Have you talked to your children about money?
Aysha: My children are 11 and 6 years old. So far, I have addressed the topic in a simple way. Because it's important to me, I bring it into our conversations. One of the first things we did was to play Monopoly, a recommendation by Robert Kiyosaki in his famous book «Rich Dad Poor Dad». It was an easier way to explain investing than talking about the stock market, which is more abstract for young children. That's how I started talking to my kids about investing. There are also good children's books that we read every night.
Felix: How would you explain investing to a teenager?
Aysha: I don't have teenage children yet, but with my 11-year-old I focus on the philosophy that you have to work to earn money. If we spend it all, there's nothing left over. But if we invest it over time, the money works for us. At some point, we have so much money working for us that we can work less or even stop working. The stock market is a good place to start, especially because True Wealth offers accounts for children. It's accessible and you can start with small amounts, unlike real estate.
Felix: Your explanation of the motivation for investing is great: gaining freedom and spending time on what you want. That's in line with the concept from «Rich Dad Poor Dad».
Aysha: Exactly. The book explains the true definition of wealth: having enough assets that generate cash flow to live without working. It varies by lifestyle and location. It's crucial to define what it means for you to be rich.
Felix: Talking about money and investing with children is unusual. Why do you think people feel uncomfortable about it?
Aysha: There is a certain taboo around money. Parents may believe that talking about money is greedy or rude. Financial topics are often avoided, and if children don't learn about money at home or at school, who will teach them?
Felix: Financial education is important. Do you think that talking about these topics with young people can help overcome financial inequalities?
Aysha: Yes, especially for girls. Studies show differences in the way boys and girls are educated about money, even if parents believe they are treated equally. We need to make sure that girls are also educated about money and investing.
Felix: Do you think financial education can help overcome gender gaps in financial success?
Aysha: Yes, it can. Girls need education and encouragement. If we don't talk to our daughters about money, who will? The way investing is portrayed, for example in Wolf of Wall Street, may appeal more to boys. But the best way to invest is more comfortable and can also appeal to women who don't like this more aggressive style.
Felix: What can parents do to get boys and girls interested in financial topics?
Aysha: Talk about money, what it costs and how to invest it. Make it a topic of conversation with the intention of teaching children something rather than treating it as a taboo. True Wealth's new product, Portfolios for Kids, allows parents to access and teach financial education to their children from an early age. It's a great tool to teach children about investing and compound interest.
Felix: Your children are not yet teenagers, but would you allow them to invest?
Aysha: Absolutely. I encouraged them early on. Even now they invest small amounts on my behalf.
Thank you very much for the interview!