How to Talk with Kids about Money
By Sandy Schroeder
As parents, we talk about all sorts of things with our kids to keep them happy, healthy and safe, but sometimes we hesitate when the topic of money comes up.
Recently the Washington Post spotlighted the topic and offered an investorâ€™s advice. In part, it said, â€œHaving meaningful conversations about money empowers you and your kids to find ways to use your capital to help reach your goals.â€
Beyond the investorâ€™s formal statement, we all have individual views about money and what we do with it. Often we work hard for it, and use much of it to create a home for our kids and bring home the groceries. Sharing our views and helping them understand the whole process can make a difference.
Here are some tips to break the ice.
Clarify Your View First
You and your spouse could talk about the subject before you talk with your kids. Thinking about how you earn, spend, save or invest can help you decide what is important for your kids to understand and do.
Be Aware of What Your Kids Already Know
Kids intuitively absorb a lot of information about money from their world. There are all sorts of clues around them, such as their house, homes of their friends, cars, clothes, and travel. Putting all of that in context for them can make a big difference. Depending on their age you might talk about it with questions like these
- How does money work for our family
- What do we do with extra money to save for the future and keep us secure
- What do individuals do to earn money
- What would it be like if we lost our money
- How can we help others who have less
Use Their Questions
Just when you least expect it, your child may ask a question such as one about your familyâ€™s money, or that of their friends. Helping them make sense of everything calls for a quiet spot with time to talk and no pressure. Encourage them to speak up and ask more questions. Do your best to clarify how things work and let them know they can always come to you to talk about it or anything else. When you are in a hurry or really tired, they are sure to pop up with more questions, but thatâ€™s a whole lot better than letting them sail out there drawing their own conclusions without really knowing what it all means.
As always, listen to them and let them know you are there for them.
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