It is the joy of every parent to see their children succeed. Seeing them start making a few bucks while young gives every parent a sense of satisfaction. Some children like Nikita Kering’ started earning money from her talent at a young age. Nikita’s adorable voice and lovable nature have made her the darling of many. She has presented awards at gala events, performed for Kenya’s deputy President and hosted TV and radio shows. Nikita now 15 has been singing since she was a child. “Nikita has been singing for about five years now, professionally and we have been supportive of her. We appreciate the kind of exposure it has given her both musically and financially,” her mother, Anne Kering says.
She has a few singles to her name and gets invites to perform at events. “She does not earn a fixed amount, and therefore, the amount she earns varies. Sometimes she gets shows that pay Sh20,000 while others do not pay, though we are happy because of the exposure. However, there was a time she used to host a show on a local television and would get paid Sh20,000 per episode back in 2013,” Anne says.
Nikita is a student at Brookhouse International School and, therefore, sometimes her parents are forced to reject some offers that coincide with her education calendar.
The Kerings are happy their child brings something on the table, though they do not spend her money. They have taught their daughter the importance of savings. Since Nikita is not of legal age, she cannot manage her own bank account and, therefore, her parents manage her finances. “We have opened a bank account for her where she saves her money. But as a child, she cannot access it without her guardians. This is something that she understands,” she adds. The year 2011 was the first time money was banked in her account. She was nine then. To date, the money has accumulated, though the parents couldn’t disclose the amount so far.
Despite the fact that she cannot access her account directly, when she needs money, she goes through her mother who walks her through the process. “She knows she doesn’t have to spend her money, since she is under our care and we take care of her needs. But before we let her access her cash, she has to tell us what and why she intends to use her money,” the mother of four says.
Many times, Nikita spends her money on what any normal girl would. “When she has a show lined up, she would want to get a new outfit, go for a photo shoot, fix her hair and nails and we think it through together and weigh if it is necessary to withdraw the money. She knows she cannot have her way all the time even if it is her money. She must know what it means to be broke so that she knows how to spend it wisely,” Anne adds.
Loice Okelo, a counsellor and supervisor, says even when a child begins to earn at a young age, this should not make them change who they are— they are still children. “Children need mentorship and guidance from their parents or guardians. The resources do not change the circumstances, if anything, the responsibilities are increased and it is up to the parent to ensure that they do not get into risky behaviour,” she says.
Okelo says that when the children begin to earn, they are prone to making a lot of mistakes and may make wrong choices and as such, guardians must monitor them. “They are eager to explore. As such, training and constant guidance is well recommended,” she says.
Being taught at an early age how to save, how to make money grow and importantly, how to spend it wisely is crucial to a balanced attitude to money in later life. “There is a massive difference between needs, wants and wishes of your child. Teach them to know the differences – this will help them prepare for good spending decisions in the future,” Okelo says.