In the past, it was considered rude to talk about money, both in or outside the home. Children were meant to be "seen not heard," and it was rare for parents to share many (if any) details about their finances.
As times and social norms have changed, many people have recognized the benefit of financial literacy for kids. This has led to more and more parents having direct conversations with their kids about money.
Why you should talk to your kids about money
A growing number of high schools and colleges are including personal finance as part of the standard curriculum, but still, only 18.4% of US High School students are required to take a course in personal finances to graduate. Ultimately, it's the parents who are responsible for their children's financial education.
As the saying goes... if your kids don't learn about money management from you, they'll learn it from someone else.
When you're honest and open about your family's finances—both the positive and the negative—your kids will learn more about how to appropriately handle money. In fact, a 2019 study from Quicken showed that people who reported learning about money as a child are over three times as likely to have an annual income of $75k or higher than those who didn't.
How to talk to your kids about money
Talking to your kids about money works the same way as talking to them about any other subject. First of all, you'll want to make sure that you're having an age-appropriate conversation. You wouldn't expect your 6-year-old to understand in the say way a 16-year-old would. It's also better to bring up money on a regular basis than have a once-in-a-year "talk."
Here are a few ways to start chatting with your kids about dollars and cents sense:
- Bring up "money wins." Share successes like staying under budget, finding a good deal, or resisting impulse spending.
- Include them in basic financial decisions. If you're buying a new TV or comparison shopping at the grocery store, talk through why you're buying what you're buying.
- Give them an allowance. You can give your kids money for household chores, but don't just pay and run. Talk with your kids about how to budget and save their money. This can help your teens become savvy shoppers.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a Money as You Grow section on its website that offers age-appropriate resources and discussion points. You can also find apps, like GoHerny’s Money Missions, to help introduce age-appropriate money lessons to your kids.
Financial lessons are priceless
Teaching kids about finance and helping them develop good money habits when they're young, improves the chances they will keep those habits when they're older and out on their own. Most people (including kids) learn by doing, so regularly share how you're using money and give your kids chances to responsibly use money on their own.
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