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.
- “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.
- 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.”
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. BankIt.com 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.”
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.