Monopoly is going cashless — a new edition of the board game features a voice assistant that manages the buying and selling. This is weird. Doesn’t the joy come from basking in all the paper notes you’ve collected like you’re Scrooge McDuck?
But the change may also be an indicator of a larger issue. If kids stop being exposed to the tangible element of money, will they still be able to fully connect with its value?
Engaging with physical objects does something to children’s brains. Research shows that the simple act of touching money can have a powerful effect on their behaviour.
That’s why you might want to give your kids cash instead of a credit card. For those just starting to develop a financial sense, the tactile experience of holding real notes and coins creates an awareness that what they’re spending has been earned.
You should also let your kid see paper versions of your bills. Financial educator Tiffany Aliche, AKA “The Budgetnista”, tells Shrill Society that her parents were extremely transparent about money.
“I’m one of five girls, and, growing up, we learned about money,” she says. “As a kid, I thought it was normal to highlight the electric bill and put it on the dining room table so we could all see as we walked by. I can remember having financial lessons at five.”
Even if you pay your bills online (who doesn’t?), it can help to print out copies for your kids to see. And then talk about the expenses. You might show them what you owe for electricity this month compared to last month and discuss any habits that may have changed.
Cashless is great, but it shields kids from the everyday exchange of money. They no longer see Mum handing over her notes one by one at the checkout. To teach them financial lessons, opt for some paper.