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Digital Financial Literacy - Trending or Troublesome?

Monopoly. The most joyful memory of most of my childhood. A game where most of us felt the thrill of being powerful, even if it didn’t last very long. It is a game that brought a level of satisfaction as we sat around the board feeling like accomplished adults. Learning how to manage money in a resourceful way was the highlight of Monopoly.

Now you might be wondering, why are we suddenly reminiscing about this worldwide classic? It is because of an interesting thought that struck my mind while playing it with my family a few days ago. It was time for me to pay rent to one of my brother’s properties but I didn't have the loose cash to do so. At that moment, as brief as it lasted, I remember thinking “Oh! I can just GPay it to him!”. This blog is a consequence of the afterthoughts.

In the present context, this game might soon change the rules considering the fact that we no longer need to carry a wallet filled with crisp notes to buy things. While the slimmer and trendier wallets are a definite win, the fact that we are not dealing with tangible money makes spending easier.

However, the biggest downside to UPI payment is the effect it has on teenagers. Teenage is a pivotal stage for parents to give economic independence to their children while teaching them how to spend wisely. However, the accountability with digital payments is reduced considerably and thus spending responsibly becomes tricky.

I started spending digital money in my first year of college. Since I would require lunch, books, printouts and other things on a daily basis, my parents and I agreed that digital payments would be most practical and convenient. In retrospect, it was probably not the best decision. I ended up spending 2x without realising.

My parents were struggling to teach me the importance of managing money and I can only imagine the plight of all other parents. I would like to share a few tricks that I've seen work!

As a parent or a teacher trying to teach your children resourcefulness, the easiest way is to simply let them experience it. Giving your younger one a budget to spend before going to the supermarket is relieving. It enables them to prioritise and spend accordingly. For instance, a book they need for school the next day will definitely matter more than a stuffed toy.

If we’re looking at slightly older children who can comprehend a little more complexity, asking them to make a checklist of all the items they need sorted by order of priority, teaching them to be wary of marketing tactics, purchase good quality items and repeat outfits to reduce wasteful spending are some ways we can help them spend mindfully. Resourcefulness is a very useful habit to inculcate in children.

I would like to quote T.T. Munger here, “The habit of saving is itself an education: it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought and so broadens the mind.”

Indeed the game of monopoly was fun, it is a game that teaches a lot if played right. I continue to carry those virtues with me while imagining if there will soon be a virtual monopoly on my phone? Can you imagine?

Written by - Shobha Naresh

- Shruthi V Rao

Edited by - Parita Shah

Adiitional References:

[1] Parthasarathy A,

“UPI: Made In India Payment System Is A Runaway Success That 10 Nations Are Trying Out”

Swarajya - Read India Right (Jul 15, 2022)

[2] Larsen T,

How To Spend Money Wisely” (Feb 5, 2022)

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