Help your kids understand money
IF YOU'RE a parent or guardian, you'll know it's never been more important to talk to your children about money and teach them to use it wisely.
Our almost cashless society means there are fewer barriers to spending than ever before.
You no longer you need a purse full of coins to spend up at the shop - we're now more likely to use a tap-and-go card than hand over any notes.
In a world where money is seemingly invisible, it's easy for young people to buy computer games online or rack up a mobile phone bill without fully understanding how much they're spending or how it's being paid for.
Fortunately, there are plenty of industry advocates, teachers and parents who want to ensure that when students reach the age of 18 and can apply for a credit card, they have the financial knowledge to use it sensibly.
A free independent resource is the Financial Basics Foundation, a non-profit organisation established in 2002 to provide free financial literacy resources to schools across Australia.
Each year, the Financial Basics Foundation hosts a national financial literacy competition - the Suncorp ESSI Money Challenge.
Using an online simulation game, students from around Australia compete in a "virtual world” - putting their money management knowledge and skills to the test for a chance to win cash prizes for their school and themselves.
Participants in the Suncorp ESSI Money Challenge experience what it's like to have a job, earn a wage, pay tax, get a credit card, invest in shares and possibly even go bankrupt.
The Challenge is a fun way to engage young people, help them understand the complexities of money and introduce them to real life financial scenarios.
It's also a great conversation starter for parents wanting to talk with their teens about money and finances and staying out of debt.
Secondary school teachers can register their class for the free Suncorp ESSI Money Challenge from Monday, July 31.
You can find out more at www.financialbasics.org.au.