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Financial literacy for children: An ideal birthday gift

May 27, 2020

Celebrating a birthday as a child means so much more than just cake, presents and parties.
Turning a year older is a symbol of maturity which unlocks new opportunities to enter the grown-up world. These opportunities are evident and are about, for example, being able to go to the cinema without parents, allowed to be home alone when you are sick, and allowed to work for other people than your family. Becoming a year older is therefore an opportunity for increased responsibility and a higher independence too. Children's birthday presents follow this same pattern by confirming the new responsibilities.

But can you and should you give financial literacy as a birthday gift? Find out in this post.

Is a child’s maturity and responsibility linked to age?

Although children's cognitive development curve differs from individual to individual, there is much to indicate that age plays a major role in both the child's own sense of maturity and the parent's experience of the child's maturity. This can be understood by looking at how children often are given increased responsibility in connection with a higher age. For example, it is not uncommon for children to receive their first key to the house or a mobile phone in conjunction with their birthday, other common milestones could be that they get their own bus card or pet to take care of too.

Another common age-related gift is to give the child their own card to pay with. It symbolizes maturity and responsibility and shows that the child is ready to manage their own money and learn the basics of economics.

Is financial literacy for children linked to practical experience?

Based on Gimi users today, giving children a Gimi card as a birthday present is very common! Almost 1 in 5 of all Gimi Master users gave their children the card in conjunction with their birthday*.

However, many parents may question whether it is good to give their child their own card or not and thereby giving them the freedom to manage their money digitally. The OECD's most recent PISA study from May 7, 2020, answered exactly that question. The chart clearly shows how young people's financial understanding is directly linked to their experience of managing money digitally. The young people who pay with cards received significantly higher score results than those who were only allowed to handle cash.

With these statistics in mind, selecting to give a Gimi card as a birthday present is a gift to be proud of. Giving your child the conditions for a good financial understanding is probably one of the most promising and thoughtful birthday presents a parent can give.

*two weeks before or after the birthday

Financial literacy performance is positively associated with confidence in handling money matters digitally, which means Gimi is a great tool to aim financial literacy.

Is giving money as a birthday present for children a good idea?

Whether children should receive money or things for birthday gifts is up to each parent to decide, but loading the Gimi card around the time of a birthday is far from uncommon. In addition to the standing weekly allowance and recurring chores, parents can swish or transfer extra money to their children on special occasions. Based on transfers made at the child's birthday we can see that it is about two times more common to send money on the birthday compared to other days.

Giving your child money as a birthday present can feel a bit strange and perhaps not very special, but if we return to the OECD’s PISA study, you can at least feel confident that giving digital money will give children better financial conditions than cash will! According to PISA, there is a great advantage in allowing children and youth to access their transaction history with the advantage of being able to monitor their own financial behavior digitally.

When it comes to being responsible for personal spending, the OECD’s PISA study showed that it is advantageous to let the children manage their own money. The diagram below describes how young people with financial independence got significantly higher points than young people who needed to get their parents' permission to spend money (the points are measuring children's level of financial literacy).


Responsibility and practical exercise is as a consequence a great gift to give to your children. Transferring a birthday money into the Gimi app is not only an appreciated birthday present but a key contributor towards improved financial literacy. How the child then chooses to spend the money is up to themselves to decide, but thanks to the money being digital they can easily transfer their funds towards their big savings goal! (Curious about how to build that in the Gimi app? Click here)

How much money should you give children as a birthday present?

Given the money transferred to the Gimi card +/- 1 day from the child's birthday, the median sum is SEK 200. If we look at the median for transfers containing the words “hurra” (“hooray”), “grattis” (“congratulations”), “födelsedag” (“birthday”) the sum is 300 SEK. Of course, it is up to you to decide how much money is appropriate to give your child as a birthday present, but these numbers can be something to relate to!

In addition to parents sending over birthday money, the grandparents are next in line. By looking at the message text for transfers to the Gimi card, we can see that “mormor / morfar / farfar / farfar” (“grandparents”) is very common. In this way, we can guess that even relatives simply want to contribute to children's economic development and luckily with the Gimi app there are no restrictions on the number of supporters a child can have, making all adults in a child’s life very welcome to contribute to their financial education.

What age should children receive their own card for kids?

The most common age for getting a personal card from Gimi is around 9-10 years old, although many parents choose to give their children the card from as young as 7 years old. What determines whether a child is ready for his or her own card or not is something that we discussed in an earlier blog post click here to read.

We have described how age is one consideration for you to start with, with another consideration being the Gimi card test - click to take the test. This is an ideal opportunity for your child to answer a few questions related to their understanding of money and finances and it will give you as a parent or guardian a clear indication if it is appropriate to order the card or to wait. If you are interested in the Gimi card, read more about how you order here!

In summary: Data shows that digital money gives your child a higher chance of good financial literacy and the team at Gimi can see that many of the Gimi users are already seeing Birthdays as a good opportunity to get children started with learning about digital money inside the app.

Learn about how Gimi could work for your family by testing the free version of the Gimi app today! (click to try now!)

Are you ready for smarter pocket money?