If your allowance goes in a flash, instead of nagging mum and dad for more dirhams, maybe you need to be a smarter spender. Marilyn Pinto explains…

I’ve been asking around, trying to find out what classes you like to do for fun, after school. You’ve got so many to choose from, whether you’re into chilling on the ski slopes, paddling with pals in a kayaking lesson, or breaking and popping in a hip hop class.

But have you ever thought about learning a life skill that will really pay off? I’m talking about money management. OK, it might not sound the most exciting after-school class but let me explain.

Being able to manage money is the one skill that most grown-ups wish they’d learned when they were younger. Don’t take my word for it, ask your parents. It would have led to more savings, wiser financial decisions and happier lives all around.

After all, you learn to ski here in the UAE, but wouldn’t you like to go whizzing down the slopes in Switzerland in years to come? How will you pay for that trip? By credit card, you say? Do you know how a credit card works? What finance charges are? How much that wonderful week on the slopes will really cost if you don’t pay off your credit card on time?

Money is linked to how you feel, too. You know how happy it can make you when you impulsively treat yourself to something? How long does that feeling last? An afternoon? And then do you ever think, ‘Oh I wish I’d bought that other book/game/pair of shoes instead?’. If you are in charge of money, instead of it being in charge of you, then life runs so much smoother. It would be great if you could learn about money at school, but you won’t. School will teach you economics and business studies but not how to choose a credit card or stay out of debt. Personal finance – that means your money, in your pocket – is a different ballgame and one that you need to get in on as soon as you can.

It doesn’t matter whether you want to be a beauty blogger, a football player or a doctor, being smart about money will make you a better one – and definitely a richer one. So, take a course in financial literacy and see how it impacts your life immediately – from making smarter spending decisions with your allowance, to learning how to budget and plan for a secure, happier future.

Marilyn Pinto is the founder of the Kids Finance Initiative