Talking to children about money is an evergreen topic for parents and financial planners alike. How do we have positive conversations with our kids about money? These conversations can feel crass and awkward but hopefully practical and rewarding as well. Often times it is not a conversation at all, but setting an example for children. It’s also important to give children experience handling money in a way that is accessible and understandable. Lastly, financial education will serve children well.
We are constantly setting an example for our children when it comes to financial decisions. This can be our spending habits as well as the judgments and observations we make about money. Explaining the “why” behind daily savings and spending decisions can help contextualize decision-making. For instance, when a child is asking for extra items when running errands this can be an opportunity to discuss savings. Table these discussions for a later time and remember back to that “ask” to explain how that money can be saved for a larger goal instead of an impulse buy.
This could be the experience of earning money for chores around the house. Or it could be, the experience of saving and spending one’s allowance. There are ever present opportunities for informative financial experiences. For example, your child can help you choose a product in the grocery store based on price. Depending on age of the child, encourage them to do brief calculations. You might also offer to help your child open a savings account and match contributions. You can make this a fun outing by pairing it with a favorite activity of your child.
The National Financial Educators Council has the mission of expanding financial education throughout our country. Their website has a variety of resources to help broaden financial education. Specifically, they developed a Utility Bill Challenge. This involves six steps that include your child in the family finances in a tangible and appropriate way. They create new educational exercises each month so be sure to follow them for more ways to include your children in the family finances.
Talk to your kids about money, even if it feels awkward at first, so the entire family can SaveUp!
This post was written by SaveUp’s personal finance contributing writer, Catherine Hawley, CFP®.