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Talking To Kids About Money Matters
  • A blog written with parents in mind

Talking Money With Your Kids

Starting a conversation with your kids about money can feel tough. When asked how often they take advantage of teachable moments to discuss financial topics, less than half (44%) of parents in our 2016 Parents, Kids & Money survey said they take advantage of the opportunity to discuss money with their kids 'most of the time.' One reason parents may skip on financial conversations is because it doesn't feel like the right time or place to have a conversation.

If you think about it, the topic of money can come up several times. For instance, what do you do when your child doesn't understand why you say no when they ask for a special treat in the grocery store? You may want to simply change the subject rather than explaining the financial reasoning behind saying no. It is important, however, for parents to have these conversations at the moment when your kid is interested and curious.

Start the conversation by asking why they really wanted that item. Then, explain your side — tying in the financial connection where it makes sense. Maybe what they wanted was too expensive or was not something you typically buy them. Or, simply explain that the item they want is not a priority right now, and purchasing it today means there would be less money available for an upcoming event or a bigger ticket item they've had their eye on. Help them understand why you are saying no by providing some context. By sharing your purchasing decisions, the conversation may spark other questions around budgeting, planning for shopping trips, and making trade-offs.

Make sure to end the conversation with a plan. When it comes to purchasing special treats on future shopping trips, maybe they can bring some of their own money to the store to buy things themselves or consider allowing them to choose one item to add to the shopping list each week, but it will have to fit within a set budget.

It's up to you to come up with a system that works for your family. But it is very important to take advantage of teachable money moments when they arise. By taking advantage of moments where your kid is engaged and has a vested interest, they may be more willing to listen.

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