kids and money

Kids And Money: Resources to Help Break Your Financial Dysfunction


Kids and money. I’m an NOT an expert on either however I do have a child and I do use money so this is a topic that interests me. In my effort to improve my own financial health, I’ve also been overly sensitive in making sure my daughter won’t repeat my mistakes. Financial education is vitally important in breaking the vicious cycle of dysfunction. 

Kids and Money: Education Starts  Young and Never Stops

There is no user’s manual that comes with having kids. Nothing that spells out how to teach your kids about finances. If you didn’t receive an education about finances from your parents (raise your hand) but want to break the cycle of financial dysfunction, where can you turn? Based on some very preliminary research, everyone seems to have an opinion in the matter. I dug around a bit and pulled out a few articles I found of personal value.

Young Children, a site managed by Northwestern Mutual, states that parents need to ensure your child’s financial literacy through two main avenues:

  1. “Every day, we need to create conversations about money – not lectures, but casual commentaries on situations that arise naturally in our days. The aim? To teach children a) how to think about money and b) make responsible decisions in using it.
  2. We must review our own financial habits so that we are modeling responsible financial behavior. Children quietly observe adults, and parents are “modeling” financial behavior all the time – whether or not we mean to.”

Their Parenting Guide is robust and I particularly enjoyed their Daily Opportunity Challenge to help you spot times that might be right for interjecting a financial lesson. also has a nice succinct article that covers the basics about talking about money with your children.

High School

High school students are likely exerting a fair share of independence. Yet, most parents understand that the older your child gets, the more expensive it is to maintain their lifestyle. Now might not be the time to push them out of the proverbial nest but it could be the time to introduce both short- and long-term goals. does a good job delivering on making “it easier to understand, talk about and manage money.” Check out their Parent section and, specifically their “Dream Well” section about goals.

High school may also be the time to discuss potential careers. In an article titled How to Help Your High-Schooler Think About Careers, parents are reminded that “Working isn’t just about making money. It’s important for your child to understand how a good job helps build a happy life, too.”

Adult Children

Linda Berstein penned a fabulously edu-taining article, How Not to Talk to Your Adult Child About Money. She cites some university research that suggests that money issues are the top conflict young adults have with their parents. The article is full of “don’t say” and “words of wisdom” on how to approach your adult child on issues surrounding savings, credit, and the popular Bank of Mom & Dad. (This AARP article on the Bank of Mom and Dad is pretty great, too.)

There are lots of resources out there if you dig around. However, from my personal experience, I believe some of the most valuable lessons around kids and money are age-appropriateness, honesty, and positivity.

What resources can you recommend on how to help your children grow in their financial literacy? What are some taboos parents should avoid? Any opinion on the best banking programs for kids? 



    1. Thanks, Susan! I agree. My parents taught me only a scarcity mindset. That’s no way to grow up! Thanks for your comment!

    2. So glad to hear of your early conversations! I just had my daughter give me $1 she earned from her father and asked me to put it in her “cup.” (Cup = savings)

  1. I would have loved something like this when I was still in school. Now, at 26, I’m starting from square one and having to learn everything from scratch. Thank god for the Internet.

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