A survey by Lingnan University revealed that Hong Kong children studying in Primary 4 to 6 have a poor knowledge of the cost of daily expenses.
Commissioned by the Boys' & Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers, Lingnan University interviewed about 1,000 Primary 4 to 6 students and their parents in October.
The survey found that 35 percent of children had no idea about the price of daily commodities such as books and school bags. About 50 percent got the price wrong.
About 55 percent of parents said it was "unnecessary" for children to buy things, and 35 percent said they were "too young to buy things".
Although Hong Kong parents would not ask children to buy things for the family, they found it important for children to learn how to manage wealth.
Fifty-five percent said children should learn how to manage wealth in kindergarten and primary school.
Close to 50 percent said wealth management education in schools was not adequate.
Sixty percent said relevant education should be provided in school syllabus.
Commenting on the survey results, Justina Leung, director of The Boys' & Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong said teaching children about wealth management was important.
"More than knowing how much pocket money they have used, wealth management is about giving children a correct idea of money, like the meaning of money and earning money is not easy," she said.
"Having a correct concept of money can affect children's attitude to financial planning when they grow up," she added.
Peter Tam, chief executive, the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers, said parents should teach children about the importance of money in daily life.
For example, children could do shopping for the family under parents' guidance.
Parents and children should also add value to Octopus card together. This could help children understand that the card was a form of money, he added.
Speaking about pocket money, Eunice Wong, a 39-year-old mother, said she gives her eight years old son HK$3 everyday.
In the beginning, he would spend it all everyday and ask me for money, she said. However, gradually my son had learnt how to use money judiciously, she added.
For example, now he spends one dollar on snacks, gives one dollar to his younger sister, and saves the rest.
His father would teach him to compare price of biscuits in supermarket and buy the ones offering discount.
"He's very happy and satisfied after buying cheaper things," she said.
"Children need to learn about how to use money," she said. "It is a kind of living experience for them."
She agreed that there should be lessons on wealth management in schools, such as a chapter in textbook on how to use money.
The Boys' & Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong will publish a free syllabus in January next year teaching primary and secondary students about the correct financial concept.
(China Daily, December 10, 2007)