Personal Finance

Money tales for children

Meera Siva | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on January 15, 2017

BL16_Book.jpg

A working knowledge of finance is as essential for children as ethical values and social etiquette

Our children may aspire to be astronauts, scientists or entrepreneurs.

No matter what they become when they grow up — a computer whiz, talented artist, gifted surgeon or a competent lawyer — working knowledge of finance is as essential as ethical values and social etiquette.

But the challenge for parents is in familiarising children with ideas such as inflation and insurance, without boring them to tears with our usual rants?

There is really a dearth of creative ideas in helping children learn about essentials of money, in a fun and engaging way.

Enter Rupee Tales, a set of five illustrated children’s book from Zerodha, a discount brokerage firm.

The books target children seven years and older. The stories explain basic concepts such as savings, taxes, inflation, stock market and insurance.

The characters are everyday people that one can identify with and the situations are simple and familiar. The illustration is tasteful and appealing, making the reading experience interesting and fun.

Illustrating inflation

Take inflation, for instance. Prices of products and services going up over time is something we can make our children understand. This is the foundation for many other concepts such as supply and demand, interest rate and the need for savings.

The story of Mani, a cook in Bengaluru, is used to introduce this idea ( Mani’s money). The old lady he works for plans a birthday party for her grandson and buys goodies such as chocolate cake, toys and new clothes. When she casually mentions the price she paid for these, Mani is shocked; just six years ago he had bought these items at bargain prices.

He thinks someone had fleeced her, but she explains how prices go up over time and that is normal.

This fact gets Mani worried, as the cash he has been stashing in a bag under his bed may not be enough for the more expensive future.

Grandma explains the idea of getting money to grow and Mani decides to keep his money in the bank to earn interest.

No rocket science here, but the story repeats the price increase in different products — all of them of interest to children — to ensure that the point is made.

And rather than preach economics, it moves on to the practical question of how price increases can impact you adversely and what you can do about it. Putting aside money for a rainy day is another life lesson and a habit that can be taught early.

Savouring savings

The story of Anu and Annie ( Anu learns to save) shows how you need not sacrifice fun but still have some money for emergency. The two girls do small help for neighbours and are rewarded with eatables, flowers or money. While Annie saves a portion of the coins she gets, Anu spends it all. One day, there is a poor milkman whose milk is spilt by accident when the girls carry it. Annie offers to lend some money to help and Anu realises that she too must have saved to help out in times of need.

The beauty of the story is that no one preaches or chides the child for saving or spending. Anu, on her own, sees how her friend is able to rescue a person in distress using her savings. The comfort and possibilities that savings bring — to us and others — are brought out subtly.

Introducing insurance

Sufficient savings may not be feasible for many situations and some risk mitigation ideas are needed. Insurance is explained through a clever and time-tested story-in-a-story (one and a half stories) format, bringing old-world kings and jungle robbers along with car and health insurance.

A precious crown is to be made for a king, but there is the risk that a dacoit in the jungle may strike when it is transported. A clever lady suggests a deal to the goldsmith — deposit 20 coins and she will pay back the 200 coins it took to make the crown in case it is stolen. This backdrop is used to explain modern day insurance products, with a new product idea of toy insurance thrown in.

However, the story on taxes ( Vishrambu’s bus journey) is somewhat tedious with too many characters and tangential points. Likewise, a topic such as borrowing would have been more essential and simpler than trying to tackle the stock market. The concept is difficult, especially given the book’s target age group, and the story ( The cake shop) does not do justice to what it takes on.

Published on January 15, 2017

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.