Since 2017, in order to encourage children to cultivate a healthy approach to household finance, and to reduce financial pressures on the less well-off households, the Pearl S. Buck Foundation and Citibank have been teaching adults financial prudence. Through these courses, parents learn how to explore financial prudence with their children through games.

Yesterday, the Pearl S. Buck Foundation announced the achievements of the program from the previous three years. Of a total of 118 groups of parents and children, 98.7 percent had demonstrated an improvement in financial responsibility, 97.9 percent had developed the habit of saving money and 97 percent were able to apply the ability to compare prices that they had learned in class to their everyday lives.

In addition, 91.1 percent of students, having previously been reluctant to teach their children about household finances, had started discussing money issues with members of their family, enabling children to reduce unnecessary expenditures.

“Citibank has been promoting inclusive finance throughout the world for almost 15 years, investing around US$2.25 million, helping over 25,000 people establish proper financial sense and prudence. In Taiwan, Citibank has been working with the Pearl S. Buck Foundation for almost seven years, and has been committed to assisting new immigrant households to get out of poverty, working with over 5,000 individuals and helping them learn how to make ends meet,” Citi Taiwan chairman Paulus Mok (莫兆鴻) said.

The Pearl S. Buck Foundation has found that new immigrants and parents in poor households working labor-intensive jobs with long working hours often do not have the time they would ideally like to spend with their children, and end up relying on compensating them in material ways.

However, buying their children dolls, watches or designer shoes has several detrimental effects, not least making them unable to differentiate between essential and luxury items and risking households falling into financial debt. As children come to expect more, and parents are increasingly unable to meet their demands, a distance emerges between parents and children, and children are unable to understand how financial pressures in the family affect the decisions their parents make. This is why the foundation wants to promote the learning of principles of financial prudence, including giving a fixed allowance at regular times, teaching how to clearly distinguish between needs and wants, and exploring ways to earn money while also limiting expenditure.

“Xiaogang” from Vietnam and her daughter started the financial prudence course in 2017 and a year later, at the young age of 10, her daughter was receiving a fixed allowance at regular times and had already begun applying the principles that she had learned during her classes of saving up for things, putting her money into a post office account. With the money she had left over she had learned to distinguish between what she needed and what she wanted. Her goal is to be able to buy her own laptop computer when she grows up.

A-Xia from China and her daughter Ting-ting started attending the classes and soon began discussing money-related issues together through practical activities. For example, they would go to the local market to buy things, and would discuss whether something was necessary or just something that would be nice to have. Over time they were able to cultivate good spending habits.