Talking to Kids About Money

Little Boy Drinking Juice
Written by Suzanne Senechal-Jandreau, Northern Region Workforce Specialist and Regional Manager 

When I was young, we did not talk about money in our house. Many parents do not want to burden their children with concern about money. A lot of people have learned from their own experiences that money, even within a family structure, is a forbidden topic.

It is difficult for children to understand why they cannot have everything that they want.  This is especially true if they do not have a sense of wants versus needs and how much money is coming in and going out of your household.
 

How Old Should Your Children be to Start the Conversation?

So, the question is, when do we as parents start the conversation about money with our children? Consider that the topic of money, as with other important topics, should be discussed as soon as questions start to arise.  When you are in a store and your child wants something that you did not plan to buy, it may be time to start a conversation about how your family chooses to spend money.
 

Pay Attention to How you Discuss Money.

One of the things I learned to do was to stop making statements such as, “We can’t afford it”. This kind of statement can be confusing to a child and leave them with a lack of understanding. Sharing, however, that you have a limited amount of money that comes into your household, as well as the types of bills that you need to pay every month, may be more meaningful to them. The older they get, the more you will be able to share about your budget, removing the mystery of income versus expenses.
 

Passing on the Importance of Saving.

The concept of saving is something that you can start to discuss early with children as well. You can share something your family is saving for – a vacation or money to spend at Christmas. It is helpful to let children know that putting money away on a regular basis helps you plan for wants after you pay for what your family needs.
 

Start Early!

Talking about money can be difficult to do, but if you start early and slowly, it can become more comfortable to discuss over time and reduce confusion within your family!
 

Next Steps…

Looking for help learning how to budget, reduce your debt, or build your savings? Check out our upcoming tuition-free workshops and trainings near you!