Raising Children To Practise Smart Financial Habits

Kuala Lumpur, 23 May 2016 – “Mummy, what is GST?” were the words a mother of five, Rashida binti Mior Ahmad Darwish heard her 12-year-old son utter last year.

The rising cost of living is a much discussed conversation in the current Malaysian way of life – rising inflation1 amidst a weakening global and local economy has severely affected consumer finances. In order to ensure our children can navigate through the future economy and have enough for a rainy day, prudent financial planning skills are increasingly important.

“Amidst the current consumer sentiment, the need is stronger than ever to educate our children in a way so that they practise healthy spending and saving habits that last a lifetime. It should come as no surprise to us at all that our internet-savvy children are asking us tough questions. They are also highly attuned to their parents’ sentiments in a difficult market. They see how their parents are saving more, but may not understand fully the idea behind how it works. In fact, for a lot of children, the concept where money comes from does not come naturally,” Rashida, 37, a Prudential Assurance Malaysia Berhad (PAMB) employee, said while she was volunteering at Karnival Cha-Ching held most recently at SK Leftenan Adnan, “Kids raised in urban areas are so used to having things provided for them. You will be surprised how little they know where money comes from - my children thought that money came from parents or the ATM!”

Aiming to make a lasting contribution in financial education for Malaysians, Prudential Assurance Malaysia Berhad (PAMB) introduced Karnival Cha-Ching with the conviction that knowledge of financial management should be nurtured at an early age, in order to teach students how to make wise life-changing financial decisions. The programme is designed to be fun and engaging for participants, giving children a hands-on experiential learning opportunity in money management. All activities are conducted through game station booths, where the children complete hands-on activities to learn the 4 concepts of managing money, which are Earn, Save, Spend and Donate — teaching them how to make financial decisions, while learning how powerful their own hard work can bear results. 

Karnival Cha-Ching is driven by PAMB employees and agents who are empowered to participate as volunteers; this also provides the opportunity for them to give back to the society by spending their time to give back to the community in a meaningful way.

“As PAMB volunteers, we are positioned at the game booths to guide and encourage the children, positively reinforcing the good habits that they learn. They visit each station to complete challenges and apply creative thinking in order to earn Cha-Ching money, learn about how to save for things that they need in future, how to spend wisely by differentiating between wants and needs, and how they can feel good by helping people in need by donating money.” said Eric Tham, 35, a volunteer from PAMB’s marketing department and father of a 3-year-old daughter.

“Karnival Cha-Ching is a wholistic learning experience where children are brought up to speed in terms of money management basics in one day, when you get them understanding and thinking about money in the most productive way possible.” said Nurul Sheila Khalib, 34, a mother of a 2-year-old and another PAMB employee who volunteered at Karnival ChaChing. “I am really happy with the Donate station because it really teaches children how to be selfless, it is so good to see that AHA moment when children understand the different ways money can help people in need, like disaster victims.”

By volunteering at Karnival Cha-Ching, Rashida, Eric and Nurul Sheila picked up on lessons and values they have also come to adapt creatively at home with their little ones. They share three insightful tips on how to enhance your children’s financial wisdom from a young age:


Rashida expresses, “Children don’t tend to understand the earning process naturally – they don’t understand that they should study hard to get a degree, in order to get a job to have steady income and support a family. It’s a concept that they need to learn overtime.”

She believes that we can show children at home that money is earned by their own efforts. She has adapted the Earn games at home with her children, where she encourages them to help out with chores, with clear expectations.

“For example, when we have guests visiting our home, I ask them to assist me in making the guests feel welcomed, comfortable and well-fed, and they really do their best! Especially when they learn that they can earn bonuses for exceeding expectations.” Rashida adds, “They then save up the money to buy me and each other birthday presents, which makes it a meaningful experience.”


For parents with younger toddlers who can yet grasp the concepts of Earn, Save, Spend and Donate, the best thing you can teach them is the idea of limit.

Eric explains, “Our financial resources are limited, so children have to learn that they cannot spend on things they want every day, every week, or else they will learn to take things for granted. So when I tell my 3-year-old daughter that there is a limit on how much items she can request to buy in a week, I also encourage her to choose which item is more important to her. Overtime, she learns to think by herself what is truly a need versus an impulsive want. ”


“It is also important to instil in our children that the pocket money we give them is hardearned, so it is given to them for a purpose, not to be spent impulsively.” said Rashida.

This is extremely relevant in a generation where social media makes it tempting to desire material goods, eased with the purchase from online platforms. If impulses are not managed well, it is very easy for our children to fall into debt. Over 25,000 of Malaysians under the age of 35 have been declared bankrupt in the last five years, according to statistics by Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK)2 .

With a mission to educate 50,000 students on the importance of financial planning at a young age, Karnival Cha-Ching has been held in the Klang Valley, Kelantan and urban poor communities in Kuala Lumpur in collaboration with the National Council of Welfare and Social Development Malaysia (MAKPEM) and NGO Yayasan Generasi Gemilang (GG) with plans to take it nationwide. To date, Cha-Ching programme has successfully reached out to 5,385 schoolchildren.



1 https://www.statistics.gov.my/index.php?r=column/pdfPrev&id=aDFRWTlLdEVXVDJkdHRIb3ZRa0VNdz09

2 http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/high-household-debt-could-lead-to-malaysians-financial-ruin-financialplann




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