Martin Lewis has urged parents not to hide financial worries from their kids.
The consumer expert has been teaching kids all about cash as his popular money show – The Martin Lewis Money Show – returned but warned that the show wasn’t just for kids. And he was right.
A financial education special of the show aired for the very first time on Thursday evening. It was hosted by Martin Lewis and Angellica Bell.
Ahead of the show, the financial guru said it was an “important one to sit down and watch with teenagers, and all adults may learn something.”
The first comeback episode covered many things lots of people weren’t taught in school such as understanding tax codes and interest rates. It also covered pensions, credit cards and mortgages.
And in one segment, Martin, who said he’s passionate about “financial education”, told parents: “Many people are under real financial stress right now and that anxiety impacts the whole of the family including the children yet it’s common to hide it, even from older teens. And burying can impact family relationships and harmony. They ask ‘what’s wrong’ or they think nothing of saying can I have that? Will you buy me this?
“Yet teens are often responsible enough to understand the situation. Explanation and quiet conversation can relieve the pressure on them and on you. Tell them you’re struggling, that you may need to act differently and that you all need to be financially careful.
“Tell them you love them but you can’t say yes to spending. They can’t have things even when you want to do it for them. Don’t lock your kids out of the finances. Engage them early, show them how your budget works. Go through it in detail if you want.
“This will usually lead to them having a healthier long-term relationship with money.”
It came after – and was the inspiration for showing – a flashback clip from 2014 in which Martin met a mum who had saved thousands for her children but had not told them about their savings or given them any control over them.
He said showing the clip during the show was “pertinent” but said it was not about the savings though but was actually about the opposite.
Angellica said: “Now many parents find talking to their children about money a taboo subject. So we want to take you back to one of our road shows in 2015.
“Back in 2014, [the] single mum told Martin she’d been squirrelling away money for her children and wanted to know where to save it. But things took a slightly different turn.”
The clip showed Martin meeting the mum for the first time. At the time, the mum had a 19, 16, 11 and nine-year-old.
Martin told her: “Well hold on, I thought this was about children’s savings? OK, well first of all, 19 isn’t a child. It’s his money, it’s for him to deal with it.”
The mum-of-four said: “Well he doesn’t know about it and it’s savings that I’ve put away.”
After discussing it further with her, Martin offered some advice.
“I know mums like you and it’s a beautiful thing,” Martin told her.
“But at some point, he has to stand on his own two feet because if mum rescues him from everything, he’s never going to grow up and he’s never going to learn,” he said.
“I’m just worried he’s a 19-year-old headstrong, ‘I’ve got X thousand in the bank, I want a car’,” the mum told him.
But Martin advised: “What you need to do is you need to sit down with him and look him in the eyes and say ‘I’ve got money I’ve put away for you, I want you to be responsible with it and I want you to help me with your brothers and sisters as well’. You can do this.”
After the initial meet, Martin met up with her again, this time to see how it went when she told her two sons the news that they actually had thousands in savings and now had some control over it.
Martin told her: “Explain that this is one of the most important things that you’ve done for them as a parent to try and set them up for life.”
After telling her two sons about their savings, handing them their cash books and urging them to only spend it with her “consent”, both boys gave their cash books back to their mum after insisting they did not want to waste it.
But the mum urged her sons to take control of it – but to do so with her blessing.
After the flashback clips aired, Angellica said: “Sometimes, all we just want to do is wrap our children up in cotton wool but watching that makes you realise that by protecting them you may be protecting them from learning and Martin, we caught up with [the mum] to find out what happened.”
Six years after their initial meet, she said: “I just want to update you on what you did for our family. [One of my sons] got married and has just bought his first house with his wife.
“[My other son] took his money and made a new life abroad for himself. Thank you so much, we couldn’t have done it without you. I know I was dreading it but you really turned our lives around. To all parents out there, I’d encourage you to teach your children about financial matters. It’s the best lesson I’ve given my kids with Martin’s help. Thank you so much.”
Thursday’s show had a “virtual audience” with thirty families on a live feed as well as people at home asking questions. And it covered everything from insuring a Macbook to the best bank accounts.
It comes after Martin made his first live appearance on This Morning with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield answering viewers questions about mortgages and home insurance following a break over the summer.
It’s also the first episode to air after it won the TV Choice Award for Best Lifestyle Show.
Martin described the first show back as “crucial” for every parent grandparent and teenager.
Viewers could also ask for Martin’s help by sending questions into [email protected] or by using the #martinlewis on Twitter.